Equality California
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to be Honored by Equality California
September 23, 2013

CONTACT: Jesse Melgar, Equality California
PHONE: 323.848.9801 x207 EMAIL: jesse@eqca.org

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to be Honored by Equality California

Palm Springs, CA - Equality California today announced that U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, will be honored with the 2013 Ally in Leadership Award at the Palm Springs Equality Awards scheduled for Saturday, October 12.

“The health and well-being of tens of thousands of LGBT people will be improved through access to quality, affordable care and Secretary Sebelius has made that a top priority at the Department of Health and Human Services,” said John O’Connor executive director at Equality California. “Due to her leadership, the new health care reform law will include unprecedented protections for our community and a targeted public education effort aimed at enrolling LGBT Americans in the health care exchange. For this and more, we are honored to award Secretary Sebelius with the 2013 Ally in Leadership Award.

“We are days away from history,” said Herb K. Schultz, Regional Director for HHS Region IX. “In the past, LGBT Americans faced limited access to health care and insurance, and in just a few days, the Affordable Care Act will help remove those barriers and provides all LGBT Americans with access to quality, affordable health coverage. We will finally be able to access many of the preventive services necessary to keep us healthy, and we can rest assured knowing we have eliminated lifetime limits on our coverage. I want to thank Equality California, and organizations like it, for working so hard to ensure LGBT Californians are aware of and understand their health care options.”

Kathleen Sebelius was sworn in as the 21st Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services on April 28, 2009. Since taking office, Secretary Sebelius has led ambitious efforts to improve America’s health and enhance the delivery of human services to some of the nation’s most vulnerable populations, including young children, those with disabilities, and the elderly.

As part of the historic Affordable Care Act, Secretary Sebelius is implementing reforms that end many of the insurance industry’s worst abuses, and will help 34 million uninsured Americans get health coverage. Secretary Sebelius has actively engaged in constructive and inclusive conversations about the state of health care for LGBT Americans. In September, she invited LGBT leaders nationwide, including representatives from Equality California, to attend a Briefing on Obamacare and the LGBT community. Under her leadership, the Department of Health and Human Services is partnering with the Center for American Progress in establishing Out2Enroll, the first national Obamacare outreach campaign to focus exclusively on the LGBT community.

The Ally in Leadership award is presented to individuals whose demonstrated commitment to equality has made a positive impact on the LGBT community statewide and/or nationally.

The Palm Springs Equality Awards will take place on Saturday, October 12, at the Riviera Resort & Spa. The Awards will also honor Rep. Mark Takano with the Leadership Award and feature special guests Rep. Raul Ruiz, actor Leslie Jordan and singer Kimberly Caldwell.

The 2013 Equality Awards are presented by AT&T and sponsored by State Farm Insurance and Southwest Airlines. For more information about the Equality Awards, visit www.eqcaawards.org/palm-springs. For tickets or sponsorship information, contact Jack Lorenz at jack@eqca.org or by calling 310.266.0502. Direct all media inquiries or credential requests to Communications Director Jesse Melgar by emailing jesse@eqca.org or by calling 323-848-9801 ext. 207.

Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy organization in California. For more than a decade, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for LGBT individuals to a state with some of the most comprehensive protections in the nation. Equality California has partnered with legislators to successfully pass over 90 pieces of pro-equality legislation and continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org