An Illinois Democratic lawmaker has introduced legislation that would require individuals who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 to pay for their own medical expenses, including hospital bills, if they contract the virus.
State Rep. Jonathon Carroll filed HB 4259 on Monday in Springfield. The legislation would impact those residents who choose not to receive COVID-19 vaccines, and would require them to cover medical costs associated with contracting the virus, even if they have health insurance.
Carroll says that the bill would serve as an incentive to residents to get vaccinated, and would help curb the spread of the virus in Illinois.
“If you get life insurance and you’re a smoker, you pay a higher premium than those who don’t,” he said. “The insurance companies have things like this built-in already.
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It is unclear whether other House Democrats will support the measure, and no other co-sponsors were listed on the bill.
Unsurprisingly, Illinois Republicans have pushed back against the measure, including Rep. Adam Niemerg, who has introduced his own legislation that he says would protect unvaccinated Illinoisans from being discriminated against for refusing the vaccine.
“It gives folks freedom to make the decision for themselves,” he said. “The freedom to talk to their doctors and have the conversation on whether they want to or don’t want to take the COVID vaccine.”
Other states have considered similar measures, including Nevada, which has implemented a surcharge for state workers, to the tune of $55 per month, if they are an unvaccinated employee enrolled in an insurance plan.
The bill, if it were to pass, would not take effect until Jan. 2023, and would almost certainly face legal challenges.