In an editorial posted this weekend, former Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) didn’t just wrongly proclaim that “illegal aliens will receive health care under Obamacare,” he also protested the inclusion of legal immigrants in health care legislation. Goode believes that all immigrants are to blame for the current health care crisis and that restricting immigration and kicking 12 million undocumented immigrants out of the country will bring down health care costs:
“Like virtually every issue that faces the nation, our health care problem is greatly exacerbated by mass immigration — both legal and illegal…Fixing our broken health care system is not easy, but making some basic changes to our immigration policy is. Securing our borders, enforcing our laws, ending birthright citizenship and chain migration, and reducing our levels of legal immigration; would do much more to lower health care costs than any government program.”
Goode argues that the health care debate shouldn’t just focus on the issue of the eligibility of undocumented immigrants, but also on the coverage of legal immigrants. Goode believes that legal immigrants are a drain on the system, and quotes the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) — a biased organization described as having “never found any aspect of immigration it likes” — to point out that since all immigrants are less likely to have health insurance than native-born Americans, then the best solution is to exclude them from health care reform and make it even harder for them to access health care. Goode juxtaposes the percentage of uninsured immigrants versus the lower percentage of uninsured citizens as evidence. However, US citizens make up the majority (78%) of those who are uninsured and the majority of the growth in the number of uninsured individuals in recent years consisted of US citizens. Immigrants are healthier than US citizens, use less medical care, use less expensive care, and do not impose a disproportionate financial burden on the U.S. health care system.
Goode also uses the health care debate as an opportunity to argue in favor of overturning the 14th Amendment, which automatically grants US citizenship to those born within the country’s borders. According to Goode, “anchor babies,” a derogatory term used to refer to the US-born children of immigrants, “could make the entire family eligible for tax funded health care.” Goode apparently overlooked the sections in the House health care bill which state that only family members who are “affordable credit eligible individuals” will receive government assistance and define an “affordable credit eligible individual” as someone who is lawfully present in the US.
Goode received a lot of attention in 2006 when he admitted he fears that “we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt…strict immigration policies.”