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A health disparity between residents of Pierce and King counties?

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TACOMA  —  Some people in Pierce County say their health care isn’t cutting it. They want more services. They want better access to care. And they just want to live healthy lives.

“You don’t know if you can pay rent or if you can get your next doctor visit.  It’s scary and its stressful,” says Mykel Ann.

Mykel suffered a stroke just three years ago.  But what she says was even scarier, is what came next.

“It’s hard, it’s really hard. You have to make a choice and then the bills pile up,” says Mykel.

Mykel is one of more than 100 people who turned out for a community meeting on health care at the Center for Spiritual Living in Tacoma Tuesday night.  This was a chance for people to voice their concerns and offer ideas on how to improve Pierce County’s health care system.

“There's more community help in King County. I think there’s more resources out there and more people willing to help in King County,” says Mykel.

A recent study found cancer and heart disease were the leading causes of death in Washington state. But the rates of death are higher for Pierce County when compared to King County.
The same goes for adult obesity rates, diabetes and even smoking.

The study also found the death rate from cardiovascular disease is 30 percent higher in Pierce County than in the rest of Western Washington.

Mykel believes the high cost of health care is keeping some people away from the doctor.

“Your credit goes out the window because of the bills and they don't care; they just keep tacking it on and the interest just gets higher and higher,” says Mykel.

According to the Washington State Healthcare Authority, the price and cost of health care is a national issue, not just one in Washington state.  They acknowledge there is work to be done.

“I want to see people go to the doctor without being scared of the medical bills. to catch their cancer before its stage 4 or before they have a stroke or a heart attack,” says Mykel.

Organizers say they plan to hold similar meetings like this one in the coming months.

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4 comments

  • Cari Doyle

    During an ultrasound in December of 2013 i was told by the doctor ” i cant believe I’m cheating on this test so that i do not have to take you in for surgery for Christmas” I have spent the last year speaking to doctors and trying to get a cancer screening only to be called crazy. instead of investigating the lumps in my neck and taking them seriously. I live in pierce county. Yeah, I can see how these stats are true! Doctors in Pierce county think everyone is just trying to get pills to get high… They do not really care about your health problems!

  • Alan Grizzlyironbear Suire

    This isn’t just those two counties. It’s widespread. Doctors are skipping tests, lying on results, insurance companies are charging top rates for everything, and telling the doctors to kick people who need to be in the hospital, out for care elsewhere that the insurance companies don’t have to pay for. It’s a no win situation. You either get your credit destroyed permanently by the insurance companies and hospitals for less than adequate care, or you go home to die. Only when we remove the power the insurance companies have over the doctors will this begin to see daylight on a real fix on the healthcare system.

  • B.T. Wayee

    The Affordable Care Act did nothing but guarantee insurance companies a paycheck, only smart people knew this before hand and that’s what they counted on to pass it. Good health starts at home not at a doctors office.

  • Neil Hopkins

    The problem isn’t the health service level in Pierce County versus King County. The problem is there are a bunch or fat, lazy dicks up their who would rather ride a rascal in Walmart over to the McDonald’s line then eat something healthy and go for a flippin’ walk.