|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 9th district
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 1995
|Preceded by||New district formed after 1990 Census|
|Succeeded by||Randy Tate|
|8th Washington Insurance Commissioner|
September 23, 1943 |
|Alma mater||Pacific University, Forest Grove|
Myron Bradford "Mike" Kreidler (born 28 September 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
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
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 2000 in order to seek election to the office of Washington State Insurance Commissioner.
In 2000, Kreidler was elected Insurance Commissioner. He was re-elected in 2004, 2008 and 2012.
Kreidler is Washington's eighth insurance commissioner.
Since taking office in January 2001, he has cut rate increases on homeowners and auto insurance policies by $300 million. He regained national accreditation for the agency, which was lost under his predecessor. In 2004, he rejected a bid by one of the state's largest non-profit health insurers, Premera Blue Cross, to become a for-profit company. He chairs the Climate Change and Global Warming Working Group for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
In 2009, Kreidler worked with Washington state lawmakers to close a waiting-period loophole that threatened the lives of people waiting for organ transplants. Kreidler has also pushed for health care reform, both at the state and national levels. His office is heavily involved in implementing health care reform at the state level, and Kreidler has been an outspoken advocate in support of the federal Affordable Care Act.
In 2009, it was reported that Kreidler's chief deputy commissioner had been fired for alleged sexual harassment after being allowed to take two months of "fully-paid administrative leave" followed by being allowed to draw unemployment. The complainant was forced to use sick leave donated by other state employees and settled for $50,000. In 2014 controversy again arose over a Kreidler chief deputy commissioner alleged to have interfered with a hearing officer's investigation into why Kreidler allowed health insurers to deny network access to Seattle's Children's Hospital. Ironically, that scandal was erupting at the same time the Seattle Times editorialized against Kreidler's failure to stand up to insurers on behalf of children with autism. The Times wrote that "[m]andating insurance coverage for early therapies for children with autism is in the state’s interest, but the state insurance commissioner wrongly has left enforcement to private attorneys." In response to the allegations by the hearing officer, the state auditor's office announced it would conduct a performance audit into the efficacy of having hearings officers answerable to their department heads. After newspapers were forced to make a public records request, Kreidler's office confirmed it had settled with the hearing officer for $450,000. No discipline was applied to the chief deputy commissioner, a longtime Kreidler crony, for having created such liability.
Although insurers discriminating against children with autism would invoke Kreidler's approval, the Washington Supreme Court, in an October 2014 opinion, unanimously described him as "irrelevant": "Regence BlueShield asks us to attach significance to the fact that the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) has never disapproved Regence BlueShield's NDT exclusion. We decline to do so. . . . Regence BlueShield's exclusion was contrary to the plain language of the mental health parity act, and OIC's action (or inaction) is irrelevant."
From 2001 through 2012, Kreidler's office issued more than $14 million in fines against insurance companies, agents and brokers. Over that same time health insurers doing business in Washington built up billions in unregulated surpluses while being allowed to discriminate against consumers.
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.
- Mike Kreidler at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner
|United States House of Representatives|
New district formed after 1990 Census
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 9th congressional district