By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Mornings unPHILtered - Insurance comm. talks policy
John Oxendine comes on the show
John Oxendine for Web
John Oxendine
      Friday’s guest on the “Morning’s unPHILtered” show was Georgia insurance commissioner John Oxendine. Oxendine also is a   Republican Party contender for the gubernatorial nomination in the 2010 primary.
      Describing himself as a conservative Republican, Oxendine was first elected commissioner in 1994 and reelected in 1998, 2002 and 2006. Prior to entering politics, Oxendine practiced as a lawyer in Gwinnett County.
      Opening the interview, Oxendine told host Phil Boyum about how everywhere he goes he is stopped by people who tell him they were helped when they called his office. He said he was determined that he would protect the citizens of Georgia when he was elected 15 years ago, and from the comments he gets, he said he believes he’s done a good job.
      Oxendine said employers cover many people for their health insurance, be they are large corporation or small businesses. The government, he said, covers many others in the form of Medicare, Medicaid, PeachCare, etc. He said part of his office’s job is to make sure the rest of the people, those private single families, get the best health coverage at the best possible price.
      Oxendine said that if he was in charge of making federal law, families would be allowed to determine what health care they had. He said tax laws need to be changed, and families ought to be able to get pooled insurance at a discount like employers and the federal government do.
      In discussing the recent flood damage in the Atlanta area, Oxendine said most homeowners discovered too late that private home insurance doesn’t cover flood damage. FEMA is the only entity that will, so you have to buy it from them. Many people never do spend the extra money for flood insurance, so when a flood hits, they’re left to cover the costs.
      Boyum asked why that happens. Oxendine said a public flood insurance option was offered in the 1960s. This gave private insurance companies the chance to get out of covering flood damages. When asked by Boyum about a public health care option, he stated that the same might happen here to health care coverage if the federal government was allowed to offer a public option on that as well.
      Our insurance system has problems, but Oxendine said he believes it’s better than those countries with socialized medicine.
      Oxendine said he would like transform the way Georgia state government works. He promised to buck the establishment, and face the major problems the state faces head on, including unpopular items such as transportation issues and water rights issues.
       He said professional politicians, which he does not consider himself to be, haven’t proposed long-term solutions to Georgia’s major problems, but instead have put into place little quick-fix measures that look good but don’t actually solve the problem.
      Oxendine said Gov. Sonny Purdue has been a good manager, dealing with the day-to-day affairs of the state, especially considering the limited assets the state has. He said as governor he would focus on fixing the measures that have faced us for years.
Boyum asked what Oxendine would suggest to help fix education other than throwing more money at the problem. Funding education, Oxendine said, has focused on buildings rather than the children. He said state government needs to take care of children first, their hearts and minds, and spend the money to solve their problems first.  
      As Georgia public schools are ranked 47th out of 50, he said he believes that’s the one thing that’s been ignored. Local public school boards have too much protection from competition. Oxendine said we should adopt whatever ideas work. Money from tax dollars should follow that child, be it to a public, private or even a home-schooled option.
      Oxendine said that if elected, he would actually shrink state government costs.
Oxendine said that he has consolidated many of what used to be duplicate departments in his agency. Not only has that saved the taxpayers money but he said it greatly increased each of the offices’ efficiency.

    “Mornings unPHILtered” airs live Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on and also simulcast on WWNS-AM 1240 on the radio. You also can listen anytime at on

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter