Mike Kreidler

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Mike Kreidler
Oic-commissioner-kreidler.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 9th district
In office
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 1995
Preceded by New district formed after 1990 Census
Succeeded by Randy Tate
8th Washington Insurance Commissioner
Incumbent
Assumed office
2000
Personal details
Born (1943-09-23) September 23, 1943 (age 71)
Tacoma, Washington, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Lela Kreidler
Children 3 children
Residence Lacey, Washington
Alma mater Pacific University, Forest Grove
Profession Optometrist, Politician

Myron Bradford "Mike" Kreidler (born September 28, 1943) is an American politician currently serving his fourth term as the Washington Insurance Commissioner. He is a Democrat. Previously, he served one term in the United States House of Representatives, representing Washington's 9th congressional district.

Education and early career[edit]

Kreidler holds a bachelor of science degree from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, and a doctor of optometry from the same institution's College of Optometry. After his US Army service as an optometry officer, he earned a master of public health degree in health administration from UCLA's School of Public Health.

He was employed as an optometrist by Group Health Cooperative of the Puget Sound in the Olympia clinic for twenty years, with sixteen of them shared with the Washington State Legislature. Before being elected to the legislature, he was elected to the North Thurston School Board in Lacey, Washington, serving from 1973 to 1977.

State politics and Congress[edit]

Kreidler was a long-time legislator, serving 16 years in the Washington Legislature (Washington House of Representatives 1976–1984, then Washington State Senate 1984–1992) before being elected to the United States Congress as a Representative from the newly formed 9th congressional district of Washington in 1992. He was defeated by Republican Randy Tate in 1994.

Following his re-election defeat to Congress in 1994, he was appointed to the Northwest Power Planning Council in 1995 by Washington Governor Mike Lowry and subsequently re-appointed by Governor Gary Locke. He served on the NWPPC until 1998 when he was appointed Regional Director for the United States Department of Health and Human Services's Region 10 office in Seattle, Washington, serving in that post until 2000, when he resigned in order to seek election to the office of Washington State Insurance Commissioner.

Mike Kreidler is Washington’s eighth insurance commissioner. A former member of Congress, he was first elected as insurance commissioner in 2000. He was re-elected to a fourth term in 2012.

A doctor of optometry with a master's degree in public health, Kreidler practiced at Group Health Cooperative in Olympia for 20 years, with 16 of them shared with the Washington State Legislature. He served as a member of the Northwest Power Planning Council and as regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

He retired as a lieutenant colonel from the Army Reserves with 20 years of service.

A longtime advocate for state and federal health care reform[edit]

Throughout his career, Commissioner Kreidler has been passionate about achieving health care coverage for all Washingtonians and reforming the nation's health care system. Early on, he proposed a state plan for reform, called the Guaranteed Health Benefit Plan. He has been a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act and efforts to implement it at the state level.

Commissioner Kreidler also worked with state lawmakers to close a waiting-period loophole that was endangering the lives of organ-transplant patients. He rejected a bid by one of the state's largest non-profit health insurers, Premera Blue Cross, to become a for-profit company.

A national voice on climate change[edit]

Since 2007, Commissioner Kreidler has chaired the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' Climate Change and Global Warming Work Group. He led a successful push for insurers to disclose if and how they're preparing for the potential risks associated with climate change.[1]

Claimed achievements[edit]

  • Raising public awareness of the massive surpluses accumulated by some nonprofit health insurers, but then allowing them to deny coverage to kids with autism, narrow networks to exclude cancer treatment centers and Children's Hospital, and underpay medical professionals.
  • Successfully advocating for changes in state law that allow public access to health insurance rate requests.
  • Cutting excessive auto- and homeowner-insurance rates by more than $310 million since 2001, as well as saving individuals more than $160 million in health insurance premiums.
  • Pushing for limits on the controversial practice of credit scoring.
  • Helping consumers recover $8 million to $10 million a year in denied and delayed insurance payments.
  • Restoring troubled insurers to financial solvency.
  • Regaining national accreditation for the office.
  • Successfully fighting attempts by big out-of-state insurance companies to strip consumers of their legal protections.

Controversies[edit]

  • The Seattle Times editorialized that Kreidler was "[s]low to stand up for the tens of thousands of families struggling to get necessary care for loved ones with mental illness. Astoundingly, his office has not taken a single enforcement action on the law, and a proposed rule to strengthen enforcement has languished in his office for two years."[2] It took class-action attorneys to win a judgment at the Washington Supreme Court for those with autism being denied care by insurers, with no help from Kreidler.
  • Taxpayers paid a $450,000 settlement to whistleblower after State Auditor Troy Kelley refused to investigate her complaint against a Kreidler chief deputy -- there was no discipline for the chief deputy.[3]
  • Taxpayers paid $50,000 settlement, following a $20,000 investigation, after a Kreidler chief deputy allegedly harassed a worker who was forced to borrow sick leave from co-workers while the chief deputy enjoyed two months of paid leave before finally being dismissed.[4]
  • Kreidler had a chief deputy quit following a 2013 hallway argument over a plant Kreidler wanted to accept as a gift from a special interest. Most executive staff followed.[5]

Personal[edit]

Kreidler resides in Lacey, Washington with his wife, Lela, of 40 years. They have 3 grown children and 3 grandchildren. He is a member of several professional and fraternal organizations. He retired from the United States Army Reserve as a Lieutenant Colonel, after serving on active duty as an optometrist during the Vietnam and first Persian Gulf wars. In April 2013 Kreidler underwent heart surgery. The condition was reportedly monitored for "months," but was not disclosed in the election just five months prior to the surgery.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.insurance.wa.gov/current-issues-reform/climate-change/
  2. ^ http://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/editorial-ending-exclusions-under-statersquos-mental-health-parity-law/
  3. ^ http://www.theolympian.com/welcome_page/?shf=/2014/11/14/3425314_state-is-paying-former-insurance.html
  4. ^ http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20090913/NEWS/309139993
  5. ^ http://stateofreform.com/news/states/washington/2014/05/oic-employee-airing-internal-politics/

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
New district formed after 1990 Census
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 9th congressional district

1993–1995
Succeeded by
Randy Tate