WASHINGTON — John Oxendine, Georgia’s Insurance Commissioner and candidate for the GOP nomination for governor, agrees with President Obama on at least one thing: health insurance companies need stricter government oversight. Oxendine has proposed a law that would allow Georgia’s insurance commissioner to block excessive health insurance rate hikes on policies sold in the individual market.
In the wake of the controversy surrounding health care giant WellPoint, whose insurance companies plan steep rate hikes on individual policies in several states, Obama has proposed giving the federal government the authority to deny excessive premium increases. About half the states provide mechanisms for ameliorating hikes in health insurance rates, but Georgia is not among them.
Oxendine tried to get a law passed in 2008 that would have given his office more control over premiums, but the Georgia General Assembly, struck by a wave of insurance-industry lobbying, refused to pass it.