Fact-Challenged ‘Top Chef’ Host Rants About Nuns And Viagra

Fact-Challenged ‘Top Chef’ Host Rants About Nuns And Viagra

Padma Lakshmi, a host on Bravo’s “Top Chef” and star of “Taste the Nation” on Hulu, fired off a round of baseless and inaccurate tweets criticizing the Supreme Court’s recent decision in favor of religious liberty, in which they ruled nuns cannot be forced to provide birth control as an employer.

Her tweet thread falsely claimed that “Viagra is covered by insurance without question” but birth control is not, and concluded that the SCOTUS decision was catering to “religious ideals.”

“In this country Viagra is covered by insurance without question, but birth control coverage is dependent upon the religious ideals of employers/institutions,” she wrote. “If that sounds: – misogynistic – discriminatory – irresponsible – indicative of systemic sexism, that’s because it is!”

According to a health policy expert, Viagra is not federally mandated to be covered by an employer’s insurance plan and is often not covered by insurance. 

Some employers cover Viagra and similar treatments, but I’m not aware of any law, certainly not any federal law, that requires them to do so,” the expert said. “And I’m guessing that at least some of the religious employers that don’t want to cover birth control wouldn’t cover Viagra either- at least not when used for erectile dysfunction.”

As a matter of fact, an amendment proposed by former Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) to the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act in 2010 suggested reducing federal funds towards prescription drugs “by eliminating fraudulent payments and prohibiting coverage of Viagra for child molesters and rapists and for drugs intended to induce abortion.” It was eventually tabled by Senate Democrats.

While Lakshmi’s tweet has over 100,000 likes, some called her out on the inaccuracy of her statement.

Lakshmi finally acknowledged the outcry from many in the replies that Viagra is, in fact, not “covered by insurance without question” nine hours after her original tweet. 

“To clarify: generic Sildenafil (Viagra, Revatio) is covered by some insurance plans, but not all,” she wrote. 

She continued by restating her unchanged opinion on the issue despite the fact that many disproved the main premise for her original tweet.

“Sexual health/contraceptive prescriptions should be covered, IMO,” she said. “Letting people’s healthcare be dictated by the religious beliefs of employers/institutions is illogical.”

Lakshmi added to her growing Twitter thread by showing a graphic depicting the justices and how they voted. While she points out that six of the justices that voted in favor of Little Sisters of the Poor were men, she failed to recognize that one of the three women and one of the liberal male justices sided with the majority. 

“What do you see here?” she asked. “I see six men, two of whom have been accused of sexual harassment/assault, making a decision to deny birth control coverage to 70,000-126,000 women.”

This isn’t the first time Lakshmi shared her political opinions on Twitter. The self-proclaimed feminist often posts tweets criticizing President Trump and conservative ideals, groups, and media. 

 

 

 

 

 

Jordan Davidson is an intern for The Federalist and a recent graduate of Baylor University where she majored in political science and minored in journalism.
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