Saturday, June 17, 2006

Two things...okay, maybe three.

The auction of the chaplain didn't go as high as I would have liked, but I really can't complain. People only pay for what they can see, and the pics weren't top notch. Granted, the painting wasn't top notch either, but enough people at work told me that the photos don't do the mini justice that I've taken steps to improve the photography.

Behold, at upper left, a picture of my work in progress (WIP) Ultramarine sergeant. It was photographed in my new light tent, a 12" cubic enclosure that distributes light wonderfully inside. As you can see, it can facilitate a very distinct photo of a very small item. One main challenge now is to learn to use the Ott light properly. The reds in the front part of the eye lens looked might lighter under the Ott light, so I must remember to look at the mini under different lighting conditions to ensure that I don't spend an hour blending reds on eye lenses (cough*tonight*cough) only to find that the blending is invisible without the tiny simulated sun of the Ott light.

Just for a moment, I would like to blather on about "employee contribution" to health care. One of my relations was going on about how unrealistic it is in today's world for teachers in some-district-or-other to not have to pay for at least part of their own health insurance, that to have their employer pay for all of it was some sort of anachronism that shows a disconnect from reality.

I don't subscribe to his point of view.

You cost your employer x dollars. That's how you are seen in the whole accounting scheme: a cost of x dollars, representing your total compensation. Whether 90% of x is paid to you in cash and 10% of x is paid to a health care provider on your behalf or 100% of x is paid directly to you does not change the value of x. My employer does not require me to write checks to Blue Cross for my health insurance. If tomorrow they told me that I would be responsible for $100 a month of my health care costs, the term for that is pay cut. A decrease in total compensation. X has changed at that point. If health care costs increase, that is the equivalent of a pay increase. Again, x has changed. Why is total compensation so hard to grasp?

One more thing... I've heard people claim that because some people don't see the actual costs of their health care, they are more likely to go to the doctor frivolously, wasting the health provider's money. Again, not a position I support. As an analogy, are you more likely to eat the sandwich that someone brings to your house and puts in your fridge or the sandwich that you bought at the store? I would assert that the money paid for the second sandwich leads to a desire to get one's money's worth out of it, whereas the seemingly free sandwich may be taken for granted. I take some of my health care benefits for granted. That is truth. If I had chosen my own health care policy and had written a check for each and every benefit I would be darn sure that I was getting my money's worth out of that policy. There is a layer of abstraction between me and the cost of the benefits since everyone in our local receives (and pays) the same. Perhaps what the above claimants actually want to see is a higher deductible for services, just to add a little pain to the process. Or maybe they just don't like things that seem free, but really aren't. I suppose there are people who get upset that pro wrestling is scripted too.

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