Fox News Contributor's 'Sexist' Comments on Women's Health Care Spark Outrage

Dr. David Samadi on Fox & Friends. Photo: FoxFor years, women have had to pay higher health care premiums because insurance companies have used gender rating — a practice that, as of 2014, will be outlawed by the Affordable Care Act. The provision is one of the least controversial of the health care overhaul. But "Fox & Friends" still couldn't resist debating the issue Tuesday in a gender-baiting exchange (see video below) that's caused a controversy of its own.  

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“We only have the prostate,” noted Fox News medical contributor Dr. David Samadi, who fanned the flames by arguing that women actually should pay more than men. "Women have the breasts, they have the ovaries, they have the uterus, they get checked in every part."

It was just one of several surreal points raised by Samadi, who is a professor at Hofstra University and chairman of the Urology Department at New York's Lenox Hill Hospital.

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"Look, it's not bias, I'm not saying this as a man," he said. "They go through a lot of preventive screenings, they give birth, they have the whole mammogram, the Pap smear. Guys, we don't like to go to doctors, right? Seventy percent of health care decisions are made by women. In my own practice, I see it's the women who bring the guys, who say, 'Go get screened.' Otherwise, we would never go."

Host Gretchen Carlson couldn't help jumping in to note that those facts alone should actually earn women a discount (which got her a blank look from Samadi). She looked alternately amused and outraged by every one of the doctor's points, and responded to Samadi's argument that "women live longer" with a sarcastic "Let's just kill 'em off!" 

Online criticism of Samadi has been swift, with Twitter commenters calling him an "idiot," "sexist," "stupid," "ridiculous," a "fool," and an "'expert.'"

Slate's Amanda Marcotte noted, "This newfound enthusiasm for strict economic fairness between men and women sadly did not lead Fox to also advocate that men stop getting paid more than women for their work." Marcotte also took Samadi to task for his vague response to Carlson's suggestion that maternity costs be shared since a pregnancy is created with two people, to which he said, "Not always."

"Was he suggesting that the ridiculously small number of pregnancies created in single or lesbian women by sperm donors was justification enough to spare men the responsibility of sharing childbirth costs?" Marcotte asked.

Freak Out Nation took the doctor to task for that sort of "mansplaining," countering his "Not always" comment with "Yes Dr. Dummy, always."

Wonkette offered pitch-perfect Samadi translations, with "Why are women so greedy, with their breast and ovarian cancer costing men all this money?" and "Man, women love going to the doctor like they love buying SHOES, amirite?"

There was a quick response from the National Women’s Law Center, which recently did an in-depth study of gender rating among insurers. "We did the research and the fact is that women are charged more for health coverage simply because they are women," the center noted on its website. "Yes, women access more preventive services, as the commentators point out. But shouldn't all of us get the preventive care we need to get and stay healthy? Why should women be discriminated against for simply going to the doctor?"

Daily Kos was over it. "I am not going to even list off the reasons why this statement made by an actual as-seen-on-teevee-medical-doctor-hi-doctor-nick-expert-guy is stupid, because it does not deserve even that much," read the post.

"Listen, Dr. Samadi, this isn't a kindergarten counting lesson — body parts don't operate under the 'three is greater than one' rule here," wrote Marie Claire blogger Maura Brannigan. "The fight for women's health and empowerment doesn't start in Congress, and it definitely doesn't start in the Whole House — instead, it starts with men like Samadi, who refuse to view women as equal partners, yet alone equal, insurance-deserving citizens."

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