Troy Balderson, who voted to deny health insurance to 500,000 Ohioans, now wants to take his extreme agenda to Congress.
Ohio Republican state Sen. Troy Balderson voted to take health insurance away from 500,000 Ohioans — and now he wants to join Speaker of the House Paul Ryan in Congress to try to take health insurance away from millions of Americans.
Balderson voted for a state budget bill that would have frozen a Medicaid expansion program and caused 500,000 people to lose health insurance, according to numbers released by the office of Republican Gov. John Kasich. Medicaid is a joint effort by the federal and state government to provide access to health insurance to individuals and families in poverty, and to disabled Americans.
What's more, Balderson's vote would have reduced funding to fight the opioid epidemic. According to Cleveland.com:
Reducing Medicaid eligibility could cut into the state's efforts fighting Ohio's opioid addiction and overdose crisis. Of the $940 million the state spends on those efforts each year, about $650 million is through Medicaid, including $279 million through the expansion.
Kasich used his line-item veto to reject the effort of Balderson and other Republicans to rip away health care from vulnerable populations. Kasich specifically called out the reduction of funds for the opioid epidemic as one of his reasons for his veto.
Although his effort to kick half a million Ohioans off of health insurance failed, Balderson now wants to take his extreme agenda to Congress. Balderson is running in a special election to replace former Republican Congressman Pat Tiberi, who announced his resignation last year.
On Balderson's campaign website, he expresses his desire to "repeal and replace Obamacare once and for all." Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and congressional Republicans failed in their earlier attempts to gut the popular Affordable Care Act, but have expressed a desire to try again.
The Republican bill to repeal Obamacare would have caused more than 23 million Americans to lose health insurance.
Additionally, Republicans tried to strip protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions. This would force millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions like heart disease, diabetes, or cancer to pay thousands of extra dollars every year to remain insured — if they could even get insurance at all.
More than 325,000 Ohioans have pre-existing conditions in the district Balderson is vying to represent. By all indications, he would vote to strip every single one of them of their current legal protections against higher health care costs.
A SuperPAC affiliated with Ryan is spending at least $1 million to try to buy Balderson a seat in Congress and help dismantle the popular health care law.
The other person running for Congress in the district is Danny O'Connor, a Democratic candidate who vows to "fight to expand access to health care so that no family has to decide between going bankrupt and getting the care they need."
O'Connor, son of a breast cancer survivor, says in one ad, "I want a Congress that protects health care, that doesn’t try to take it away."
That's a stark contrast with Balderson, who publicly voted to take health care away from half a million Ohioans.