Jan. 14 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky libertarian known for his opposition to socialized medicine, is going to Canada for hernia surgery next week, according to court papers he filed in a civil case.
The Louisville Courier-Journal reported that Paul, a one-time Republican presidential candidate, will have outpatient surgery performed at the Shouldice Hernia Hospital in Thornhill, Ontario, next week.
The information appeared in documents filed in the senator's civil lawsuit against neighbor Rene Boucher, who pleaded guilty to assaulting Paul in 2017. Paul sustained six broken ribs and a bruised lung in the dispute over lawn maintenance.
Paul has been a longtime critic of socialized healthcare systems like the one in Canada. During Republican efforts to replace the Affordable Care Act, Paul derided what he called socialized medicine and the need for the marketplace in healthcare. In Canada, healthcare is nationalized.
"Socialism is not a good idea," Paul said in CNN interview in June 2017, pointing then to Venezuela. "Socialism is an utter failure. ... Insurance companies, I think they have too much power. But I'm not willing to have the government break them up. I want the marketplace to break them up."
Paul told WAVE-TV in Louisville the free market is what pushed him to go to Canada for the surgery.
"Funny thing is people who have an agenda tried to attack me, said, 'Oh you're going to use socialized medicine,'" he said. "I'm actually choosing capitalistic medicine because they only take cash from foreigners."
On its website, Shouldice calls itself the global leader in non-mesh hernia repair with 98 percent of its cases performed with a natural tissue technique.
A civil trial in Paul's lawsuit, set for Jan. 28, seeks monetary and punitive damages, along with a restraining order against Boucher.
The lawsuit, filed in Warren Circuit Court in Kentucky, argues that Boucher would continue a pattern of "stalking and harassment" of the senator without it.