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The Penis Discount

On 27 August 2013, a Fox News expert, Dr. David Samadi, argued that it is wrong for the Obama administration to force gender equality in health care costs. Samadi asserted, “Men have the prostate, while women have the breasts, the ovaries, the uterus. They get checked in every part.”  The ideas they are trying to convey is that woman have more body parts and in turn should be paying more for health care. Another Fox news anchor joked “1-800-GOD, can we change the organs of a woman so that she doesn’t cost so much?”

This logic suggests other, equivalent arguments. Should the elderly pay more because they have weaker immune systems and get sicker easier?  More generally, at what point do these radical ideas defy equal rights?

Statistically, women live longer than men on average. Thus, advocates of higher health insurance rates for women argue that men utilize the health care system less, because they do not on average live as long. During the Fox News segment, host Gretchen Carlson played devil’s advocate, asking whether women ought to get a discount, since they tend to be more proactive than men in seeking preventative screening.  Why be charged more for being more conscientious, she asked? Previously Time Magazine had reported that on rising costs of preventative screening, but did not compare the costs of preventative care with its alternatives.  Carlson also pointed out that women were blamed for maternity costs, “but men and women have babies together.”


David Edwards, “Fox News expert: ‘Women have the breasts’ so health care should cost more than men” The Raw Story, August 27, 2013,

Student Researchers: Ashley O’Brien, Maria Gutierrez-Munoz, JP Carrillo, Jessica Lozano, Ian Levy (Santa Rosa Junior College)

Faculty Evaluator: Susan Rahman (Santa Rosa Junior College)

  • Aaron November 3, 2013

    For a doctor, Dr. Samadi doesn’t seem to know much about health insurance. Insurance in general is just a statistics game. They find out how much risk there is that they will have to pay for something, and set their rates so that statistically, they will make a profit while keeping their rates low enough to be competitive. It is that simple. If women live longer, they pay less for health insurance. They also drive safer so they pay less for auto insurance. I wouldn’t want that guy as my doctor if he doesn’t understand that.

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