An Illinois Democratic state representative introduced a new bill on Monday that would force unvaccinated patients to pay their own medical expenses if they receive hospital treatment for COVID-19.

State Democratic Rep. Jonathan Carroll sponsored the new legislation, HB 4259, that seeks to encourage Illinois residents to receive a vaccination.

The bill proposes “a person who is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and chooses not to be vaccinated shall pay for health care expenses out-of-pocket if the person becomes hospitalized because of COVID-19 symptoms.”

Carroll argued that more people should be vaccinated.

“The vaccine is proven to be the one thing that is stopping the severity of COVID-19, and we are seeing more variants popping up,” Carroll told WCIA-TV on Monday.

“The experts are telling us, ‘This is now becoming a disease of the unvaccinated.’ The people that are choosing to get vaccinated are not the ones that are clogging up the healthcare system, it’s the ones that aren’t,” he added.

In an interview with The Chicago-Sun Times, Carroll added, “I think it’s time that we say ‘You choose not to get vaccinated, then you’re also going to assume the risk that if you do catch COVID, and you get sick, the responsibility is on you.’”

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) found the average COVID-19 hospitalization costs $24,033. Nationwide, Medicare has already paid $16.6 billion for COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The proposed bill is one of many controversies in Illinois regarding vaccines.

Last week Chicago Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot claimed that she dropped a lawsuit against the city’s Police Union because more officers had complied with her mandate, saying, “The past few weeks have shown what I have said from the beginning to be true: that our brave police officers are smarter than their FOP leadership, and care more about their city, their fellow Chicagoans, and upholding their sworn oath to protect and serve, than they do Catanzara’s frivolous demands to stop working.”

She also warned she would go back to court if the union or its president “take any further action toward encouraging an illegal work stoppage or strike.”

“So far this year, the city has seen 739 murders, a 3 percent increase from last year’s already elevated figure and a 60 percent jump from 2019. Shootings are up 9 percent and 66 percent from 2020 and 2019 respectively,” The Daily Mail pointed out.

The state has also come under criticism for its vaccine mandate and testing requirements for teachers. In September, Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed an executive order requiring Illinois teachers, staff, and school contractors be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing to be inside schools.

In August, Pritzker also signed an executive order requiring all university students and personnel to be fully vaccinated or tested at least once per week.

“The quick spread of this disease in Illinois and across the country is holding us all back from the post-pandemic life we so desperately want to embrace, and it’s harming the most vulnerable among us,” Pritzker said in a statement.

“We are running out of time as our hospitals run out of beds. Vaccination remains our strongest tool to protect ourselves and our loved ones, to restore post-pandemic life to our communities, and most crucially, to maintain our healthcare system’s ability to care for anyone who walks through their doors in need of help – and Illinois is taking action to keep our communities safe,” he added.

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