I've seen several references to this story that imply or assert that Sarah Palin is a hypocrite for being a very vocal critic of the Canadian health care system, when it turns out she used to go with her family across the border to receive services from Canadian medical professionals instead of those in Alaska. (See here for an example.)
But then I read the article. It turns out there are two huge facts obscured by such an analysis, and they're both whoppers.
1. This wasn't something she did with her family as an adult. This is something her parents did with her until she was six. Yes, people are calling Sarah Palin a hypocrite because of what her parents chose to do, while bringing her along, when she was in kindergarten. I guess if you've run out of ways to attack her involving her own kids, you turn to attacking her for what happened to her when she was a kid herself. I suppose this is hypocrisy by proxy. Find something someone else did that seems to conflict with what Palin is saying, and then call her a hypocrite for someone else doing what she thinks is problematic.
2. They lived during that period in a very rural town near the Canadian border. The closest city was across that border. Most people in very rural towns drive to the nearest city for some of their health care concerns. It just happened that they had to go to another country in this case. If Sarah Palin had lived in that town and taken her own children to Canada, that's perfectly consistent with saying the Canadian health care system is inferior to the American health care system, because no one thinks the American health care system is equally available in every small rural town. The closest thing that's of good enough quality might be in the Canadian system that does things in a way that's less ideal. Being less ideal than the American system is compatible with being the best thing in the area. So there's no inconsistency here anyway.
I noticed an argument here that Juneau, AK is just as close to Skagway, AK where they lived as Whitehorse, YT, where they occasionally sent someone for medical aid in emergencies. So I checked Mapquest. It took 6 hours to get to Juneau and 3 hours to get to Whitehorse.
Then the comments there indicate that you would usually go to Juneau by ferry in those days, and that takes several hours also, where the train ride to Whitehorse is only two. So it does seem that Skagway's closest city is Whitehorse, YT. Juneau has a slightly larger population but not enough to make a huge distinction. They're both big enough cities to have the emergency care facilities that her small town didn't.
Also, the Associated Press interviewed Chuck Heath, Palin's father, about this:
Palin's father said Monday they had little choice, given their location in Skagway. "There was no road out of there at that time," said retired teacher Chuck Heath, reached by phone in Wasilla. "The ferry schedule was very erratic. We had no doctor in Skagway. The plane schedule was very erratic. The winds dictated whether the planes could come in or not."So it's hard to make the argument that even her parents' choice had anything to do with preferring Canadian health care to American health care, never mind that she herself is somehow a hypocrite because of what her parents did when she was in kindergarten or younger.