Healthcare is a hot topic in this year's presidential election, although many student voters may be confused on how it will affect them.

Tonight, students will have a chance to learn more about the subject from Dr. Theda Skocpol, a distinguished professor and author from Harvard University.

Dr. Skocpol was chosen to speak because she is a leading social scientist and theorist of advanced modern democracies.
Sylvia D. Turner, the assistant director of the Chancellor's Honors and Haslam Scholars programs, hopes that students will take several things away from the lecture, including becoming informed on the Affordable Healthcare Act, also known as Obamacare.

"I would like for students to have a better understanding of The Affordable Healthcare for America Act," she said. "This piece of legislation ... continues to be a lightning rod for politicians and pundits."

Turner hopes that the lecture will clear up any confusion about what Obamacare actually means to Americans.

"There is a lot of misinformation out there about what the law covers. Hopefully, students will learn — in a less politically charged environment — what the law entails," Turner continued.

Nate Crilly, sophomore in food science and technology, feels that students should take every opportunity to learn about healthcare because students are either directly or indirectly impacted by healthcare legislation and reform.

"They may become sick, even in the prime of life, and have to navigate the tangle of insurance and regulations," he said. "Their older relatives (especially parents) may become chronically ill, necessitating involvement (of the student) with healthcare."

Michael Miceli, sophomore in linguistics, agrees with Turner and Crilly.

"I think it is very important for students to be knowledgeable of what is going on in their government, especially ... when it comes to where their tax dollars are going," he said.Miceli also pointed out how healthcare legislation and reform will impact students later in life, even if they don't seem to have a direct effect right now.

"We, the students, should not be ignorant of (the discussions about) health care policies," he said. "... We are the ones who will be here to feel the effects of the choices made on health care and thus should take action to make our voices heard in our local, state and federal government."

The lecture is a part of The Chancellor's Honors Program for the Third Annual Dr. Anne Mayhew Distinguished Honors Lecture Series, started by the former Director of The Chancellor's Honors Program Dr. Stephen Dandaneau. Anne Mayhew was the first woman to serve at UT as chair of the Department of Economics, Dean of the Graduate School, and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

"The concept behind the series is to honor Dr. Mayhew by inviting speakers who address issues of broad public concern," said Turner.

Dr. Skocpol's lecture, titled "Will Healthcare Reform Survive and Succeed after 2012," will begin tonight at 6:00 p.m. in the Toyota Auditorium at the Howard J. Baker Center for Public Policy.