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Exploring our Health Care Future

By Sherri Kimmel

The first time I heard the term Obamacare I was standing in the Italian-marble-floored kitchen of the expansive home of a Texas surgeon. Mind you, this surgeon was someone I had admired since I’d first met him the summer of the ’76 Olympics. (Yeah, I was a kid, and he was already a long-established scalpel artist.)


Photo by Laurence Kesterson

But when he uttered that new-to-me term, Obamacare, I was no longer a kid. It was 2009, and I had a kid of my own, a college junior. When this family friend disparaged what was later passed by Congress as the Affordable Care Act and which was upheld by the Supreme Court this summer, I told him one thing: Whatever the defects, if the bill passed, my son could ride on my health plan till he turned 26, unlike my daughter who’d been kicked off the month she graduated at age 21. For our family’s sake, Obamacare sounded pretty good to me.

And therein lies the rub. As Professor Carol Nackenoff puts it in our cover story regarding the aftermath of the momentous summer court decision, “This law has a lot of warts—it’s not a prince, it’s not quite a frog.” You’ll hear more from Nackenoff and other pundits, such as Michael Dukakis ’55, on the decision’s impact on our nation’s health-care future and on the November election, starting on Page 14. You’ll note there’s a political theme running throughout this issue of the Bulletin. Theme issues are one thing I intend to publish more often, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on that approach.

I’d also love to see you “like” the Swarthmore College Bulletin’s new Facebook fan page. You’ll find us at I hope that our Facebook page will increase the magazine’s website traffic, attract new readers, and strengthen its connections with you, our readers. The Bulletin staff will craft Facebook posts geared toward sparking discussion about current, past, or future magazine content. Look for our posts, and please join the conversation!

—Sherri Kimmel

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