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Sarah Palin says her family once went to Canada for healthcare

Sarah-palinSarah Palin could see Canada's healthcare from her window.

The former Alaska governor and current media favorite told an audience in Calgary on Saturday that her family had sneaked to Canada when she was growing up to take advantage of the universal healthcare system.

She described in a somewhat fishy story hopping the border one time when her brother injured himself, according to the Canadian Press.

"Believe it or not -- this was in the '60s -- we used to hustle on over the border for healthcare that we would receive in Whitehorse," she told the crowd.

"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 healthcare from Canada?"

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Comments () | Archives (19)

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Sort of a mixed message there for all those TeaBaggers!

Critics blast Sarah for her reversal on the quality of Canadian health care. Fans say Canadian health care was in its infancy and therefore, ok as a choice at the time. Alaska newspapers report that the last time Sarah told this story, her family traveled by ferry to Juneau for treatment of the burned ankle.

Spin, spin, spin. The truth, many Americans did and still do travel over the border for quality health care - far more than the number of Canadians who come here for America's health care (and those that do tend to have a lot of money.) Even more Americans are traveling much farther for quality care -taking "surgi-cations" or medical vacations in the Far East or even in Africa to spend much less money on much better care.

Well, perhaps she can now repay the Canadian government for services rendered. That would be the fair thing to do since she used the services when she never paid into the system. A type of welfare cheat.

Now for the facts:

1. Canada did not have socialized healthcare in the 1960's.
2. Only Canadian citizens qualify for Canadian healthcare.

Where is Paul Harvey when you need him? This half story passes for news in La La Land? Somehow I think the closest medical center or hospital was in Canada at the time. Just a thought. But having a thought would be too easy for the writer of this non-article.

Go to "The Sarah Report" on Facebook for the lastest on Sarah Palin. Become a fan and spread the word.

In the 60's Whitehorse was the nearest accessible city to Skagway. The trip was by train, since discontinued with the construction of the Klondike highway in 1978. Non-residents of the Yukon could be treated but paid the regular fee. Most Alaskan insurance in those days did not cover Canadian medical fees.

As far as Sarah Palin, this is what I'd like to tell her:

Thanks, but no thanks! and "Believe it or not"...... I choose not.

So now we know what Mrs. Palin's health care plan is for uninsured Americans - sneak into Canada.

Um, Canada didn't have universal healthcare until the 1970's, taking a little bite out of the premise behind your snark. Perhaps an edit is in order...

This 'memory' is suspicious. She would have been 5 years old. Either way it illustrates her hypocrisy.

What kind of a politician with national aspirations speaks like that:

"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 healthcare from Canada?"

Sounds like she made it up this story right on the spot. Talk about pandering to your audience. Sad.


RB I dont know where you get that more Americans go to Canada than come he but that is very, very wrong. The Canadian stream across our borders because they dont have the doctors to even take care of their own population. Healthcare in Canada is going broke and people die waiting for an appointment. I know because I live here in Buffalo, NY. The Canadians help our economy by using so much of our healthcare. Oh and you cnat use the Canadian healthcare system because we arent Canadians. Please, please get the facts correct.

The woman handed out 2 tales of this. I don't care where she got her health care but if she can't keep her stories straight who is to believe anything she said.

Actually Canada passed the medical care act in 1966 which provided for a national health plan in all of Canada. This followed the 1957 hospital insurance act.

And yes you can get medical care in Canada today as an American if you pay for it.

It is also better and more responsive than the fragmented American system.

OE...are you serious...I live in Canada and never had a problem finding a Doctor...Canadians streaming across the border???...people dying waiting for an appointments???...the only waiting is for elective Surgery i.e Breast Implants, Cataract Surgery etc...we elect to help the most critical cases 1st which means there may be waits for less urgent cases...I ruptured my Achilles last year and saw the specialist the next day and had surgery the day after that...I do get a kick out of how misinformed some people south of the border are...the vast majority of Canadians love our system...I doubt the same could be said about your system...

Even if Palins family went to Canada for medical treatment
why is this an issue? How would this be a reflection on Palin when she would have been all of 5 or 6 years old?

I think the reporting on this story is irresponsible since,
there is some dispute as to whether the Yukon had fully integrated the Canadian health care system (certainly not in it's present form) yet in the late 1960's.
Also it is doubtful that the Heath family received "free" healthcare since they were Americans. We also know that Whitehorse, Canada was the closest (travel time) urban area with medical services so the choice to "zoom" over to Canada was determined by medical neccessity rather than an attempt by Palin's parents to score some "freebies" from Canada as you somehow imply here.
Irresponsible reporting that almost borders on malicious.

Some misinformation is being implied - first of all, it's irrelevent whether or not Sarah was 5 when this happened. It's an anecdote her father has mentioned before, and he would know. The second thing, is that no one ever said the Palins received free care. They didn't. They had to pay for it. No one from the US receives free care in Canada, just as Canadians do not receive free care here in America.

The point to Sarah's story is that her family availed itself of Canadian health care (which indeed was socialized at that time) because it was the closest medical facility to them at the time. Think about that - they lived in a remote area of the US which did not offer them care but could receive quality care in a remote area of Canada because Canada had socialized its health care system in order to provide all Canadians with access to care. It IS ironic, that Sarah fails to see how this socialized care benefited her family in their time of need. It wasn't free to them, but it was AVAILABLE, and they didn't have to go into debt to find it or utilize it. They weren't turned away because they were "illegal" or because they didn't have insurance or because they weren't part of the system. And since there is no bad ending to this story, you have to consider that the care was good and they were happy with it.

Whitehorse Canada in the 1960s did not have the present-day social healthcare as today's Canada & was nearby: Palin is lucky her enemies are not Rocket Scientists & can count their IQ on their fingers...

Looks like more than once.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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