Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Texas couple considers divorce to help pay for daughter's health care costs

Brighton has a rare chromosomal disorder called Wolf Hirschhorn Syndrome and has hearing and vision impairments Brighton has a rare chromosomal disorder called Wolf Hirschhorn Syndrome and has hearing and vision impairments
Anna Jefferson | 12 July, 2018, 11:39

Because Jake, an Army veteran, makes about $40,000 a year, the family doesn't qualify for Medicaid.

Thad Miller, DrPH, a professor at Fort Worth, Texas-based UNT Health Science Center, said he has never heard of a family seek divorce due to circumstances regarding healthcare. "We've had a newborn for six and a half years", Maria told WFAA.

Jake and Maria Grey are happily married with two children. Brighton, the oldest of their two daughters, suffers from Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome, a rare chromosomal disorder that causes hearing and vision impairments, seizures, heart and kidney problems, and more. "I used to get anxiety just opening the mail", said Maria on WFAA, saying she always anxious about what medical bills would come. While state assistance is available, it is slow to trickle in, as lists often include thousands of patients, waiting for years - sometimes over a decade - to receive help. If they were to divorce, Maria would appear as a single, jobless mother of two on paper, qualifying for state assistance. Still, the couple fears they have no choice.

"For a family like this, they really are in a tough spot, ' Miller said, calling the couple's out of pocket costs "very high" and 'shocking". "We don't want a GoFundMe, we don't want any of that", Maria Grey said.

'We just have struggled and struggled with it.

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Maria said she and her husband promised each other that they would do everything possible to make their daughter's life the best it can be for "however long she is going to be" with them. The sum comprises some 30 percent of the annual income of the family, which also has another 2-year-old girl. "It would be to not be together to get our child what we need".

"It's morally wrong, I feel like, and I think it's conflicting for me too, because I feel like what's happening to us is morally wrong", Jake explained. One couple in Texas, however, is considering divorce out of necessity for their child's well-being, a reflection of how desperate many people in our country have become when it comes to attaining adequate health care.

The Greys got married nine years ago on a Florida beach.

"We're No. 60,000", Maria said.

"I can't imagine going through what we've been through with anybody else", Jake said.

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