Senate Committee Endorses State Insurance Nominee
All but one of the thirteen Pennsylvania state senators serving on the Banking and Insurance Committee voted to recommend that the full senate confirm the nomination of Republican Diane Koken. Koken, tapped by Democrat Governor Ed Rendell to continue running the state Insurance Department, received some criticism for not being aggressive or open-minded enough in protecting consumers, but also garnered praise during the 90-minute meeting. Among her stated goals, Koken listed finding ways to lower health insurance rates and attracting policy writers for disciplines such as Pennsylvania medical malpractice insurance. Senators voiced concern over high Pennsylvania medical malpractice insurance premiums; Koken said that capping non-economic damages in Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawsuits brings up “a serious issue of fairness from a policy standpoint that needs to be addressed.” Instead of the caps, she supports Gov. Rendell’s plan to lower premiums by limiting medical malpractice attorney’s fees and encouraging outside arbitration to reduce the number of large jury awards in Pennsylvania medical malpractice cases.
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