How to decide between Larry Lambert and Ray Seigfried?

State Representative Ray Seigfried (D-7th RD) was elected in a five way Democratic primary to replace the retiring Byron Short in 2018. Here are the results:

JOSEPH DAIGLE6322966124 . 88 %
CATHERINE IMBURGIA2841630011 . 29 %
ROSE IZZO25342579 . 67 %
LARRY LAMBERT6581867625 . 45 %
RAYMOND SEIGFRIED7342876228 . 71 %

86 votes separated Seigfried from Larry Lambert in 2018. Now Larry Lambert is challenging Seigfried in a one on one rematch between the top two finishers from that 2018 race. The “establishment” favorite in that 2018 race, if there was one, was Joe Daigle, and he finished third. So how do progressives and liberals decide between these two candidates this time around? It is not as if Ray Seigfried is some conservative like Bruce Ennis or holds conservative social positions like Earl Jaques or is an gun safety opponent and carpetbagger like Dave McBride. By most appearances, Ray Seigfried has been a good Democratic representative.

Still, some progressives have their critiques. And one of those critiques is House Bill 193, and the prime sponsor of that bill is Mr. Seigfried. House Bill 193 was passed and signed into law in 2019. It established the Delaware Health Insurance Individual Market Stabilization Reinsurance Program & Fund, which would provide reinsurance to health insurance carriers that offer individual health benefit plans in Delaware through the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). The Reinsurance fund was funded from money received from the federal government under the Affordable Care Act, funds provided by the Federal Government for reinsurance, and through a 2.75% annual assessment based on insurance carrier’s premium tax liability. The funds received from those sources is estimated to be $27 million, and it is estimated that “about 21,000” Delawareans received a 19 to 20% reduction in their ACA health insurance costs.

Now that sounds good, until you figure out that 21,000 Delawareans is just 2% of our state population of approximately 982,000. And that the $27 million was taxpayer money was being paid to for profit insurance companies like Anthem Blue Cross, which alone made $2.3 billion in profits last year.

Progressives, including Mr. Lambert himself, say that $27 million fund could have been used for something that helped more than 2% of Delaware’s population. They say that money would have been much better spent on a Delaware Medicaid buy-in option, or it could have been used in forming a multi-state compact not unlike those recently formed to fight off COVID-19, but this time to investigate how to combine multi-state resources among the Northeastern states like New Jersey, Delaware, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island to provide for a Medicare for All program.

And in that critique, you have what is basically the tension between liberal Democrats and progressive Democrats. Or between pragmatic progressives and the lasso the moon progressives, or however else you want to classify the difference or tension. The former often work to pass legislation that works to improve existing structures and services as quickly as possible, but often to smaller amounts of people. The latter want to establish new structures over the longer term to help more people.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

11 comments on “How to decide between Larry Lambert and Ray Seigfried?

  1. Mitch Crane

    Your concerns would have some standing, if your assumptions, and facts, were all correct.

    1. The reinsurance fund established under the Affordable Care Act was for the purpose of lowering premiums to people receiving insurance through the AFA Exchange, true.

    2. The belief was that because reinsurance is accessed only when an insurance carrier needs extra funds, (much like an umbrella liability policy) the premiums would be lower to the carrier, and those savings would be used to lower those Exchange premiums paid by the consumer. That is exactly what has happened and those receiving coverage from the ACA do benefit.

    Your statements from that point on are not correct:

    1. Though Anthem BCBS is “for profit” as you state, Anthem does NOT sell in the Delaware market.

    2. The only carrier currently selling in the Delaware ACA market is the ‘non-profit” Highmark BCBS Delaware. As a matter of fact, the Blues are not permitted under their affiliation, to compete with each other in any market.

    3. Medicaid is not insurance regulated by the Delaware DOI, Medicaid is a federal program in which the states contribute. Both the federal and state governments are self-insured and the enabling law prohibits the states from regulating self-insured programs.

    4. Therefore the federal funds in question can not be used to supplement Medicaid (or Medicare)

    5. The ideas of regional pacts is actually something I spoke about when I ran for Insurance Commissioner in 2012 and actually discussed with our neighboring states when I became Deputy Insurance Commissioner in 2017. (I “retired” in 2018. The regional concept ran into the same brick wall that Vermont did after it passed a Single Payer Health Care Bill in 2011, with the intention of rolling it out in 2014, I believe:

    A. The states, as noted above, cannot, by federal law, regulate self-insured programs.
    B. The state, and local, governments are all self-funded, and therefore self-insured.
    C. Most large corporations are self-insured and therefore beyond the reach of state regulators. (Yes, I know some of you work for the State or for a multi-national corporation and your insurance card says “Blue Cross”, Aetna, or some other company. Those cards merely state who the “Third Party Administrator” who processes and handles claims is. These administrators are paid to administer the program on behalf of their client (the State or Corporation)
    D. Insurance is regulated by the State in which the policy is initiated. So, let’s say, you work for 3M and 3M is not self-insured but buys its health insurance through BCBS of Minnesota. You work and live in Delaware. You have a claim to contest. Under the law the Insurance Commissioner of Minnesota has jurisdiction.
    E. Vermont found that if it instituted a single payer health insurance program, it would only cover 35% of Vermonters. That and the estimate that state income taxes would increase 10% per taxpayer resulted in Vermont repealing the enabling law..
    F. One estimate is that the Delaware DOI has jurisdiction over only 25% of health insurance plans covering Delawareans.

    So, Representative Seigfried sponsored a bill at the request of the Department of Insurance and that bill, once enacted so that the program was approved by the US Dept of HHS. It has reduced the insurance premiums of Delawareans with insurance through the ACA Exchange. With these lower premiums, and if the next President and Congress restore the cuts to the ACA, many thousand more Delawareans will be able to purchase affordable health care- until such time as the Federal Government enacts a Single-Payer Health Insurance program.

    To me the bottom line is Ray Seigfried did a good thing: he showed that a first term legislator can be effective, Though Mr. Lambert is well qualified and has positions that are good, to me this race is like the recent Senate Primary in Massachusetts. A good incumbent (Senator Markey) was opposed by a good challenger (Rep. Kennedy) but the challenger failed on the first rule of running against an incumbent- “why shouldn’t the incumbent be re-elected and if there is a good reason, is the challenger a better choice”. On this issue, the incumbent wins, and BTW I supported Mr. Daigle in 2018.

  2. Joe Connor

    Fortunately Mitch has no vote in the 7th RD. I do and I voted for Larry. It’s true that Ray is a perfectly nice guy. But Larry has deep roots in the community and has lived the issues of the folks in Overlook Colony, Knollwood and the Apartment complexes along Naamans Rd like Green Tree and Valley Run. Larry fights already for better child care, effective drug treatment, elimination of Food insecurity and our black and brown brothers and sisters. My district has many of the same issues that afflict many city of Wilmington neighborhoods. Larry will be a great Representative!

  3. John Kowalko

    For what it’s worth, Mitch Crane is absolutely correct in his analysis of how the money can and cannot be spent and its benefits to Delawareans. Also for what it’s worth I am 100% supporting Rep. Seigfried in his reelection bid. In the past session I’ve gotten to know Ray and can attest to the fact that he is one of the most thoughtful and intelligent Representatives in the House. I have worked closely with him on many issues and I am impressed with his knowledge and compassion for Delaware working families and the needs of the most vulnerable Delawareans. I have no reason to disparage his opponent but if any of you reading this trust my judgement, honesty and credentials as a progressive than I assure you that Ray Seigfried is a true progressive and will further the progressive agenda in Delaware.

  4. Melissa Forsythe

    I lived in Claymont for 18 years, and both sets of my parents still live there, so I am quite familiar with the politics and goings on of the town. When the virus hit, Larry was the only one around to communicate with another representative to get testing in Claymont, as well as set up a way for Claymont residents in need to get food. Many residents have said that they tried to reach out to Ray during this time and got no response.

    When the BLM protests were happening in his district, where was Ray? Larry was at the marches in Claymont making sure they stayed safe and got the message across. Ray only made a show of helping Arden children when they were taunted by the police, but where was he weeks before when the children protesting in Claymont were met with an entire police caravan?

    When the floods came several weeks ago, many houses in my parents neighborhood flooded. Those families are now out thousands of dollars in damage and repairs. Why? Because Ray neglected to have the culverts of the creek cleaned out to prevent the flooding. He was told about this issue over a year ago and neglected it. The culverts are cleaned out now, thanks to Larry.

    When it comes to actually showing up and doing the work, Larry has proven time and time again to be that person. I do not want to ignore that what Ray did with the reinsurance is a good thing, because it is and will benefit lots of people. However, when you are a representative of a district, it is your job to represent THAT district and those people. Ray hasn’t been around, Larry has. I cannot vote in this election because I no longer live in the 7th district, but I care about what happens to my parents and friends there, and I care about what happens to my hometown. I urge anyone eligible to vote in the 7th district to vote for Larry Lambert. He shows up.

    • HyperbolicDem

      Since you asked, I’ll list it.

      1.) When the BLM marches were happening, Ray was mourning the loss of his wife. However, he was still out there, I. Claymont, with the protesters.

      2.) Ray made no “show” of helping the Arden children. He met with DSP and had the incident investigated.

      3.) As for the floods and culverts, that is fully and solely the responsibility of New Castle County. I believe Council Cartier himself responded to this fact on various facebook posts alleging the same thing you just did.

      There are plenty of skeletons in Larry’s closet, so it is not wise for him, or his people, to make unfounded attacks on Ray. He does not want the laundry aired. He should run on his merits, not slinging mud and trying to disparage his opponent. That’s not the type of campaign someone who wants to represent the people should run.

  5. Joe Connor

    “There are plenty of skeletons in Larry’s closet, so it is not wise for him, or his people, to make unfounded attacks on Ray. He does not want the laundry aired.” HyperbolicDem

    I posted that Ray is a perfectly nice guy and i believe that. You on the other hand seem to have taken a MAGA class in gas lighting and not paid close attention. Please take your not so veiled threats and put them in one of the many culverts around the district. There’s one on my block of Lincoln on Perkins Creek that could use a nice flush!

    • HyperbolicDem

      Wasn’t talking to you, Joe, but I’m sure if you call the appropriate government agency, they will handle that for you. Funny how anyone who says something you disagree with is MAGA.

      Ps – That’s the County, not the state.

  6. Claymontsertoo

    Progressive State Rep. Ray Siegfried is they guy who will be able to get the big things done for Claymont and Gwinhurst in Leg. Hall. Larry talks a good game but him taking credit for bringing Covid testing and food for the needy is despicable and not honest. Just showing up with a yellow vest and posing for FB posts at someone else’s event is not the heavy lifting we need. Larry will just be another backbencher in Dover with only the universal Community Transportation Funds to show for it. Sarah & Ray will be a powerhouse for this area.

  7. I live in Gwinhust within sight of Perkins Creek. Ray is a perfectly nice guy. Larry will do more for the Poor, the Black and Brown and those affected by the scourge of heroin which is epidemic in the Philly Pike Gov Printz corridor. Further the veiled and not so veiled personal attacks on Larry are what’s despicable.

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