As the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, continues to take effect, the reason why it was implemented in the first place is often lost among the political rhetoric. However, Public Health Prof. Scott Greer explained some of the answers in a lecture Wednesday night to about 15 members of the Culture of Medicine Club.

Greer, who has done research in Australia, Canada, Spain, Belgium, Germany, France, the U.S., the U.K. and the European Union, said the facts surrounding health care are often difficult to discern.

“I’ve learned that practically nobody actually understands how public health is organized in most of the world,” he said.

When asked why the ACA is such a big transition in the first place, Greer placed most of the emphasis on the United States’ employer-backed system before the ACA.

“The U.S., unlike other systems, did not manage to break past the point at which health care was essentially an employer-provided benefit,” he said.

According to Greer, the health care system before Obamacare produced two strange effects: employee stiffing and job lock. “Job lock” is a term referring to when an employee will refuse to leave their current job because they cannot afford to lose their benefits. This impedes entrepreneurialism and fosters an unhealthier work force.

Greer added that this emphasis on employer-financed health care created a strange system in the U.S.

“It’s weird in the sense that something that is, by design, evanescent in a functioning capitalist system — namely, a big company — is made into part of the welfare state.”

Another difficulty with the previous system was the drastic transition from being uninsured to being on Medicare.

“There’s a significant number of people whose first interaction with the health care system after they get on Medicare ends with them getting a foot amputation for untreated diabetes,” he said. “What’s cheaper, a podiatrist once per year, time with a nurse, and insulin, or paying Johns Hopkins a $30,000 bill minimum to get a foot amputation?”

Greer said he was optimistic about the future of University of Michigan health services despite the challenges facing research-focused medical centers.

“Now the insurance companies have turned on the academic medical centers due mostly to cost. I think UMHS is probably going to do fine because it adopted the farseeing strategy of being the hospital of reference for the entire state,” Greer said.

LSA junior Katarina Alajbegovic said she thought the lecture was informative, especially given the vast sum of information regarding the new laws.

“I think it’s good to know what’s going on,” she said. “Especially because it’s so politicized — when you go on the news, you can’t be sure you’re getting an accurate description of what’s going to change.”

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