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Mornings unPHILtered - Oxendine focuses on health issues
Gov. candidate says insurance will pay for mammograms at 40
oxendine for web
John Oxendine - photo by Special

    The first guest on Wednesday's “Mornings unPHILtered” show was Georgia Commissioner of Insurance and Republican gubernatorial candidate John Oxendine. Oxendine came on the show to talk about why he isn't going along with the U.S. Department of Health's Preventative Task Force latest recommendation.
    The group recently issued a new set of recommendations that it would be OK to push back beginning to get yearly mammograms for women to the age of 50, instead of beginning at the age of 40 as is currently established. Some said the recommendation could have freed insurance companies from paying the cost of mammograms for most women until they were 50.
    Oxendine told host Phil Boyum that he notified Georgia insurance companies that they are not to change the coverage currently offered to Georgia's women without first getting his personal approval, which he said he would not give.
    Also, Oxendine said he would not be a willing participant in what he called rationing of health care by the government. One little step towards rationing, he said, would open the door to a great deal more efforts to cut back on insurance coverage.
    Oxendine said he will use the standards as set by regular doctors and the American Cancer Society, who best know what really needs to be done for the health of their patients. Oxendine said the doctors he's talked to are appalled at the idea of pushing back mammograms.
    Oxendine said he believes the costs to the insurance companies would actually increase because of the rise in number of cancer cases that wouldn't be detected because of the failure to screen at an earlier age. The new recommendation, Oxendine repeated, is simply unacceptable.
    Asked by Boyum about the response of the insurance commissioners in other states, Oxendine said Georgia is one of the few states to have an elected insurance commissioner. Many states, he said, have government bureaucrats who don't want to rock the boat and risk their jobs.
    Oxendine said he's currently traveling to Augusta and then Savannah to see what could be done to deal with other Health issues across the state.
    The second guest on the show was John Witherington from Ogeechee Technical College. Witherington is in charge of the school's Department of Hotels and Restaurants, and Tourism. He said for more information on the classes offered in these fields call his office at 688-6970 or email him at
    The final guest on the show was Russ Lanier, from local accounting firm Thigpen, Lanier, Westerfield, and Deal. Lanier is performing an Elvis tribute show at the Averitt Center in order to raise funds for the arts center. Lanier said Robert Fowler of the Averitt asked him to come and sing Elvis songs on his birthday.
    He will be performing with a live band and backup gospel singers for the very first time, all of whom are local volunteers from around the community. Many of the volunteers are Lanier's fellow church members from the First United Methodist Church, where he serves in worship services.
    Lanier said for much of his life he has sung, including for a number of years with the Miss Georgia Pageant in the early 1990's and even at the Rattlesnake Roundup in Claxton. Lanier said he loves singing the 50's music, and if he can tie it into his worship of the Lord the he really feels good.
    The show is called “Elvis, Are You Lonesome Tonight?” and is completely sold out. Many local businesses have signed up as sponsors, and in total they have raised $8,000 for the Averitt. Lanier also serves as the treasurer for the Statesboro Arts Council, and is well aware of how hard the Arts are being hit by the tough times.
        “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

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