Sarah Palin's family used socialized medicine?

Lincoln Mitchell is on his high horse over at Huffpo reveling in the supposed hypocrisy of Sarah Palin. How could she? That's right, Sarah Palin's family used Canada's health care system a couple of times when she was a child. How can we continue to criticize Obamacare when the most popular conservative woman in America was hiding such a damning family secret? Mitchell writes:

Sarah Palin's recent statement that, presumably during her childhood, she and her family used to cross the border from Alaska to take advantage of Canada's health care system is not really a gaffe or a verbal slipup, but offers an interesting insight into Palin. It is not exactly surprising, or even"ironic," to use Palin's words, that somebody who has made a name, and a great deal of money, for herself by linking health care reform to some kind of socialist bogeyman, used to take advantage of socialized medicine. [....]

A key to Palin's resilience may have been revealed in this latest comment. To Palin it was a throwaway line, good for building a folksy rapport with a Canadian audience. Referring to this as "ironic" is sufficiently cryptic that it is not clear what it even means, but it is clear from her lack of effort to distance herself from this remark that Palin is not really aware of how revealing this admission is. Palin is a complicated political figure, but she may be less of an ideologue than first thought. Clearly, a true right wing ideologue would probably not have made this revelation. The informality of Palin's revelation, and her seeming lack of understanding of what it meant, suggests that for Palin, the right wing populism, while fun and easy, is not really grounded in anything other than the advancement of Sarah Palin.

Mitchell is surprised that Sarah didn't try to hide this story. He believes that "a true right wing ideologue would probably not have made this revelation". Projection anyone? Pundits on the left are so used to their politicians being disingenuous, that when they come across a conservative who just tells the truth, they assume that the conservative politician must be stupid.

Why don't we inject a few facts to clear things up? As usual we have to point our browsers across the pond to get the whole story. From the
UK's Telegraph:

The former Republican vice presidential candidate has been a frequent critic of big government and has lambasted Barack Obama's health care reforms as ushering in socialised medicine, denouncing his plans as "downright evil".

But during a weekend speech in Calgary, she revealed that her family used medical care in Whitehorse, the capital of Canada's Yukon Territory, decades ago. [....]

"I remember my brother, he burned his ankle in some little kid accident thing, and my parents had to put him on a train and rush him over to Whitehorse, and I think, 'Isn't that kind of ironic now'. Zooming over the border, getting health care from Canada."

Chuck Heath, Mrs Palin's father, said they had had little choice but use the Canadian facilities given Skagway's location.

"There was no road out of there at that time. The ferry schedule was very erratic. We had no doctor in Skagway," he said.

"The plane schedule was very erratic. The winds dictated whether the planes could come in or not."

He said his family probably took the train to the Whitehorse hospital only twice - once when his son burned his leg and again when a daughter had rheumatic fever.

Mr Heath also stressed that they had "much preferred" to use US medical facilities as his insurance did not cover any treatment in Whitehorse.

Huffpo readers are only getting one side of the story. Now that we have all the facts and the statements of Sarah's father, this story is a non-issue.

What's really news worthy is the fact that it's so rare for Americans to go to Canada for medical care. The flow of patients is normally
going the other way. Hundreds of heart patients have come across the border to America for angioplasty and just recently a famous Canadian politician traveled all the way to Florida for a specialized heart procedure that was apparently unavailable in Canada's "highly regarded" health care system.

So, to summarize, if you have a minor burn or a fever you might want to hop across the border and give socialized medicine a try. For anything more serious I would recommend the current U.S. health care system -- at least until the Democrats get their hands on it.

Update: Greg Richards adds:

Skagway was a very small town which was the terminus of the intercoastal ferry.  There would have literally been no place to go with a sick child except Whitehorse, Canada on the narrow-gauge railway given that apparently there was no doctor in town.  This is hardly a political point but a geographic one, with Canada in the role of good neighbor.  Perhaps Liberals would have let their children suffer without medical care, but taking care of the children is a family value that we conservatives embrace. 
Lincoln Mitchell is on his high horse over at Huffpo reveling in the supposed hypocrisy of Sarah Palin. How could she? That's right, Sarah Palin's family used Canada's health care system a couple of times when she was a child. How can we continue to criticize Obamacare when the most popular conservative woman in America was hiding such a damning family secret? Mitchell writes:

Sarah Palin's recent statement that, presumably during her childhood, she and her family used to cross the border from Alaska to take advantage of Canada's health care system is not really a gaffe or a verbal slipup, but offers an interesting insight into Palin. It is not exactly surprising, or even"ironic," to use Palin's words, that somebody who has made a name, and a great deal of money, for herself by linking health care reform to some kind of socialist bogeyman, used to take advantage of socialized medicine. [....]

A key to Palin's resilience may have been revealed in this latest comment. To Palin it was a throwaway line, good for building a folksy rapport with a Canadian audience. Referring to this as "ironic" is sufficiently cryptic that it is not clear what it even means, but it is clear from her lack of effort to distance herself from this remark that Palin is not really aware of how revealing this admission is. Palin is a complicated political figure, but she may be less of an ideologue than first thought. Clearly, a true right wing ideologue would probably not have made this revelation. The informality of Palin's revelation, and her seeming lack of understanding of what it meant, suggests that for Palin, the right wing populism, while fun and easy, is not really grounded in anything other than the advancement of Sarah Palin.

Mitchell is surprised that Sarah didn't try to hide this story. He believes that "a true right wing ideologue would probably not have made this revelation". Projection anyone? Pundits on the left are so used to their politicians being disingenuous, that when they come across a conservative who just tells the truth, they assume that the conservative politician must be stupid.

Why don't we inject a few facts to clear things up? As usual we have to point our browsers across the pond to get the whole story. From the
UK's Telegraph:

The former Republican vice presidential candidate has been a frequent critic of big government and has lambasted Barack Obama's health care reforms as ushering in socialised medicine, denouncing his plans as "downright evil".

But during a weekend speech in Calgary, she revealed that her family used medical care in Whitehorse, the capital of Canada's Yukon Territory, decades ago. [....]

"I remember my brother, he burned his ankle in some little kid accident thing, and my parents had to put him on a train and rush him over to Whitehorse, and I think, 'Isn't that kind of ironic now'. Zooming over the border, getting health care from Canada."

Chuck Heath, Mrs Palin's father, said they had had little choice but use the Canadian facilities given Skagway's location.

"There was no road out of there at that time. The ferry schedule was very erratic. We had no doctor in Skagway," he said.

"The plane schedule was very erratic. The winds dictated whether the planes could come in or not."

He said his family probably took the train to the Whitehorse hospital only twice - once when his son burned his leg and again when a daughter had rheumatic fever.

Mr Heath also stressed that they had "much preferred" to use US medical facilities as his insurance did not cover any treatment in Whitehorse.

Huffpo readers are only getting one side of the story. Now that we have all the facts and the statements of Sarah's father, this story is a non-issue.

What's really news worthy is the fact that it's so rare for Americans to go to Canada for medical care. The flow of patients is normally
going the other way. Hundreds of heart patients have come across the border to America for angioplasty and just recently a famous Canadian politician traveled all the way to Florida for a specialized heart procedure that was apparently unavailable in Canada's "highly regarded" health care system.

So, to summarize, if you have a minor burn or a fever you might want to hop across the border and give socialized medicine a try. For anything more serious I would recommend the current U.S. health care system -- at least until the Democrats get their hands on it.

Update: Greg Richards adds:

Skagway was a very small town which was the terminus of the intercoastal ferry.  There would have literally been no place to go with a sick child except Whitehorse, Canada on the narrow-gauge railway given that apparently there was no doctor in town.  This is hardly a political point but a geographic one, with Canada in the role of good neighbor.  Perhaps Liberals would have let their children suffer without medical care, but taking care of the children is a family value that we conservatives embrace.