Friday, 18 September 2009

Either Way, You Could Lose

This week....the American Journal of Public Health estimated that 45,000 deaths per year...come about in the heartland of America....because of lack of health insurance. I paused over that number for several minutes. I pondered for a while.

You know, if you spend twenty years in the Air Force...you start to notice another interesting statistic...although I can't project the number.

I worked with a senior NCO who felt he had a light case of flu in the late afternoon. The next morning...he got up and felt light-headed and just called in and said he was taking the day off (it’s typically mandatory that you go to sick-call before you get the day off). Four hours later....he died of a heart attack.

I knew another senior NCO...was light-headed all day long...took six to eight aspirin. Went home around 4PM, and around 10PM that night...had a heart attack in the shower of his house.

I knew a senior officer who felt sick all day long...got into his car around 5PM...and had a heart attack half way home.

I knew a guy who spent months complaining about exhaustion but never went to a doctor on base about it. When he finally did...he was dying of cancer and had barely three months left to live.

Everyone of them...had free and competent health care....compliments of the US government. Heck, we have the best ambulance crews in America. We have every advanced medical testing device within every single base medical facility.

None of these guys used what was their best benefit.

I think I can match the 45,000 folks who died because they didn't have universal health care....with another 45,000 folks who had lots of health care, and didn't damn use it.

Statistics are a lousy game. Once you open Pandora's box....things come out that would be best left alone.

Why Contractor Work Sucks

My company...which shall remain nameless....came up this morning (it is timecard day, you know)….and dictated a last-minute change. Apparently, the company that runs the time-card service has issued the requirement to note COLA (cost of living allowance). For those not in the contractor business…it’s basically an allowance to cover extra costs of living in Germany. Don’t worry….you can’t get rich off this….and if you were lucky….you might be able to pay your rent with this total monthly sum.

So they gave us an imaginary COLA charge number. Then they want us to mark each single day with a “1”…..to include Saturdays and Sundays. At the end, it doesn’t add anything whatsoever….so it’s just an imaginary charge number, for imaginary charge days, for COLA.

We all wasted twenty minutes each….figuring out the instructions this morning and resubmitting our timecards.

IF you fail to put a “1” in each single column….you get docked that day’s percentage of COLA. It would have to be corrected, but it’d take an entire pay period to correct that. Course, they didn't say if I could just write 14 in the first block and just forget about this entire game for the rest of the two weeks.

No one from company leadership can explain the logic to this….except to do it….each and everyday. Curious how they would do this….on a timecard submission day. I checked my contract….I’m paid COLA by my monthly pay….not by days worked….so nothing makes any sense.