PROPS & DISSES: Rental Market is Brutal

By on May 14, 2013



1BR, 1BA, Thayne, F/L/D, NS, NP $1,535.

There’s just nothing out there. It’s scary. It’s the tightest I’ve seen the rental market. Ever.

The great majority of postings at the free online radio classifieds start “WANTED” instead of “FOR RENT.” If you have a place to live now – don’t give it up. Even if your landlord is batshit crazy and jacks the rent every month. Hunker down.

If the economy starts picking up locally – and positive signs like real estate sales, increased building permits and a plethora of help wanted ads point toward a recovery underway this summer – where is the workforce going to live?

And some of these poor dolts posting their ‘Housing Wanted’ ads have no clue. Almost all of them mention how “easy going” and “chill” they are. Never mind that, how about saying you’ve got first, last and deposit in cash in your pocket? Too many of the homeless are overly optimistic: “Looking for a two or three bedroom, Wilson preferred, that has a garage for my micro-brewing hobby. I have two well-behaved dogs and cat who almost always uses his litter box. I like to party but not get wasted. Can pay up to $600 a month.”

Yeah, good luck with that. See you at the hostel.

I barely got back into the market after losing a place last fall. The closest I could find to town was Red Top Meadows – a community so sleepy that if a porch light goes on after 10 p.m. it’s always followed by a coaxing voice saying, “Go on, go potty.”

At the spring shoulder season, barely anything shook loose. It’s hard to put the blame on any one thing but hopefully the town and county follow through with their intent to clamp down on illegal VRBOs.

Prediction: Curtis Canyon and Mosquito Creek are gonna be tent city. They’ll make India look spacious.

MedicalCostsUninsuredHealthCare ( price disparity in hospital charges   DISS

The American Hospital Association calls the current billing system, “complex and bewildering.”

Medicare’s deputy administrator, Jonathan Blum, can’t for the life of him figure out why the same joint replacement surgery costs 40 times as much at one hospital as it does at another across the country. “It doesn’t make sense” he said, noting that the higher charges don’t necessarily reflect better care.

As part of President Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act, the government just made available for the first time the most baffling and unsolved mystery known to man: hospital pricing. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services published the costs for 100 common procedures at 3,337 hospitals according to how hospitals bill Medicare. The expectation is by publishing comparative cost lists it will promote competition and lower prices in the age of Obamacare.

A few folks in Wyoming aren’t so sure it’ll work that way.

The data shows some wildly differing charges for the same procedure depending on where it’s done. AP found one instance of a joint replacement surgery done in tony Monterey Park, Calif., that cost $223,000. The same procedure runs a patient $5,300 in Ada, Okla. Just why is anyone’s guess.

In Wyoming, similar unexplainable differences were also noted. A pneumonia patient with complications generated an average bill of $25,000 at Riverton Memorial Hospital, compared to $17,000 at St. John’s Medical Center. Charges for urinary tract infections varied by about $6,000 at hospitals in Lander and Sheridan. And don’t let them slice you open for major joint replacement at Wyoming Medical Center; you can get the same thing done $15,000 cheaper down the road at Laramie’s Ivinson Memorial Hospital.

“I don’t know exactly how useful this will be for individuals in terms of allowing them to select their care,” David Lind, chief medical officer at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, told the Casper Star-Tribune. “It might create confusion, rather than clarity.”

Anne Ladd, executive director of the Wyoming Business Coalition on Health, said it would be foolish to price shop for healthcare just based on the sticker price. Some hospitals give greater care than others. Ladd also worries that by making the numbers public, hospitals on the lower end will feel they “are leaving money on the table” and raise their prices accordingly.

To be fair to SJMC, they’ve always fared well when comparative pricing across the state. The newly released data seems to confirm this.

Wolf trapping in the Gros Ventre   DISS

Not a big fan of trapping. Not a fan of wildlife managers who seem to justify their jobs by incessantly trapping, drugging, testing, sampling, monitoring, collaring, poking, prodding and tinkering with wildlife to the point that they’re pissed off or less wild. Neither is a good scenario.

About Jake Nichols

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