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New Board Member Named To Covered California Panel

Kate Kendell, a longtime leader in health and advocacy from San Francisco, was sworn in on Thursday, Aug. 18 as the newest member of the Covered California Board of Directors. Kendell is currently the chief of staff at The California Endowment.

“Kate has spent her career fighting on behalf of underserved communities, and that fits with our mission of providing quality health care to all Californians,” said Covered California Executive Director Jessica Altman. “She joins Covered California as we celebrate a decade of providing Californians with the health care they need, and as we embark on the next decade of ensuring health care and health equity.”

Kendell led the National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, for 22 years until 2018. The University of Utah graduate then became the interim chief legal officer at the Southern Poverty Law Center, before accepting the position to become the first-ever chief of staff at The California Endowment.

“I am tremendously honored and humbled by this opportunity, and I look forward to using my voice to increase and expand access to quality health care,” Kendell said. “Ensuring health care for all in California is a passion for me.”

Kendell was appointed by California Senate Rules Committee, chaired by Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego). She will replace Art Torres, who stepped down from Covered California’s board earlier this year. Kendell will serve the remainder of Torres’s term, which ends on Jan. 1, 2024.

There is no compensation for the position, but Kendell may receive a per diem and reimbursement for travel and other necessary expenses.

Covered California is the state’s Affordable Care Act marketplace, where Californians can find affordable, high-quality health insurance from name brand companies. It is the only place where individuals who qualify can get financial help on a sliding scale to reduce their monthly costs. Depending on their income, some consumers may qualify for the free or low-cost Medi-Cal program.

Covered California is an independent part of the state government – overseen by a five-member board appointed by the governor and the Legislature – with a mission to increase the number of insured Californians, improve health care quality, lower costs, and reduce health care disparities. For more information about Covered California, visit