Monday, March 08, 2010


You're probably aware that Sarah Palin revealed that her family got health care in Canada's Yukon Territory when she was a kid:

"My first five years of life we spent in Skagway, Alaska, right there by Whitehorse. Believe it or not - this was in the ‘60s - we used to hustle on over the border for health care that we would receive in Whitehorse. 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."

Politico's Ben Smith blogged the story, then issued an update:

ALSO: Socialized medicine apparently only kicked in in Yukon in 1972, post-Palin.

He cites this Canadian government Web site, which says:

Yukon creates medical insurance plans with federal cost sharing, April 1.

(Palin was born in 1964.)

Ah, but go to "Inventory to the Records of the Yukon Government, YRG 1, Series 12, Territorial Treasurer Records, 1951-1969" (PDF). As we learn on pages 5 and 6:

The Yukon Health Insurance Service (Y.H.I.S.) came into existence on July 1, 1961 to provide hospital insurance for all residents of the Yukon Territory. Its three objectives were: to relieve territorial residents of the burden of hospital costs; to assure hospitals of payment for services rendered; and to raise standards of hospital care.

Y.H.I.S. provided hospital insurance for Yukon residents without cost, as long as they had lived in Yukon for ninety days. The Yukon Government administered the plan. The federal Department of National Health and Welfare took responsibility for the standards of nursing, equipment, and medical aspects for the Yukon's three hospitals (Whitehorse, St. Mary's in Dawson, and Mayo)....

During the fiscal year 1961-1962, the Y.H.I.S. passed from its developmental stage to full operation as one of the twelve plans (provincial and territorial) which together formed the framework for a national plan of health services....

Long story short: Yukon didn't have fully federalized health care when Sarah Palin was a child, but it did have socialized hospital care. I'm assuming that when Palin's brother was "rushed over" to Whitehorse after an accident, he went to a hospital emergency room. And yet the quality of care was, bafflingly, not so horrific that Palin's brother was killed instantly, after which cackling socialists danced over his capitalist corpse.


UPDATE: The folks over here, as well as a couple of commenters, think they have me dead to rights because (a) the Yukon health system wasn't fully socialized in the '60s and (b) the Palins were using it as U.S. citizens.

Um, aren't these the same people who think even a minimal amount of additional government intervention in the U.S. health care system will turn our hospitals and doctors' offices into hell on earth? Would they be prepared to say, "Oh, it's only a little socialism, so it's OK"? I don't think so.

And if big bad evil socialism, even in embryonic form, ruined health care for Canada, as these people firmly believe, then the system was in horribly degraded form even if you paid for your care with U.S. cash money, no? Isn't that what the people who criticized this post believe. That socialized medicine is a cancer? Are they suddenly in favor of just a little cancer? (Oh, you know, besides Medicare, the VA system, and Medicaid?)

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