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Health reform act at center of commissioner race [Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Moscow, Idaho]

By Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Moscow, Idaho
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Oct. 19--MIKE KREIDLER

--Age: 69

--Affiliation: Democratic party

--Current occupation: Insurance commissioner of Washington

--Family: Kreidler lives in Lacey, Wash., with his wife, Lela. They have three children and three grandchildren.

--Total raised: $156,649

--Total spent: $114,148

JOHN ADAMS

--Age: 72

--Affiliation: Prefers Republican party

--Current occupation: Insurance broker

--Family: Adams and his wife, Starr, live in the Kirkland/Bellevue area of Washington. They have two children and three grandchildren.

--Total raised: $2,500

--Total spent: $497

Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is seeking a third term in the office this November, and is challenged by insurance broker John Adams, who ran against Kreidler in 2008 as well.

The insurance commissioner is responsible for regulating insurance companies and practices across the state, a $30 billion per year industry. The commissioner is paid $116,950 annually.

Kreidler touts accomplishments in his three terms as commissioner such as cutting excessive rate increases by insurance companies, fighting attempts by big out-of-state insurance companies to take away consumer legal protections, helping individual consumers recover more than $160 million on their insurance policies when payments were delayed or denied, and blocking the attempt by Premera Blue Cross to convert to "for profit" status. Kreidler also holds a doctor of optometry degree.

Adams has owned his own insurance brokerage firm, Seattle General Agency Inc., for the past 23 years. He has served on the Lake Washington School Board, where he said he helped establish a risk management program and a broker selection process to centralize responsibility. He has also taught risk management at Association of National School Business Officials conventions.

Introducing Term 25 for the

Adams said, if elected, he will "evaluate the existing office by calling for a performance audit from a disinterested independent source. This has never been done and a current review is appropriate." He also said he would reduce over-regulation, advocate to reform unfair underwriting practices, address pricing of prescription drugs and increase funding to Washington without raising taxes.

A recent article in the Yakima Herald said at an editorial meeting with both candidates, the two seemed "more like colleagues than opponents." Both agree that implementation of the Affordable Care Act is a high priority in the coming years. A particular area of importance is correcting misinformation and helping the public understand what will change under the new laws, Kreidler told the Herald.

"The more people outside the system that aren't covered but have significant medical costs that they can't afford ... the more it costs us," as the cost shifts to other insurance policyholders in the form of increased premiums, Kreidler said.

Kreidler has said he is committed to helping facilitate the creation of Washington's new health insurance exchange, and making sure choices are available to residents by 2014.

Many major newspapers across the state have endorsed Kreidler for the position.

___

(c)2012 the Moscow-Pullman Daily News (Moscow, Idaho)

Visit the Moscow-Pullman Daily News (Moscow, Idaho) at www.dnews.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Wordcount:485



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Introducing Term 25 for the