An Army veteran and his wife of nine years say they’re considering divorce in order to qualify for health care assistance for their disabled daughter.
Jake and Maria Grey of Sanger, Texas, opened up in a Today report about the cost of caring for their daughter Brighton, who has a rare chromosomal disorder called Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome.
At age 6, Brighton has the developmental abilities of a newborn and requires round-the-clock care. Ailments include vision and hearing impairment, heart and kidney problems, seizures, and more, according to WFAA News.
“She will not be able to be on her own,” Maria said on Today. “Ever. And requires 24-7 care.”
The couple have expensive health insurance, but are still paying $15,000 a year out of pocket on health care — which is more than 30 percent of their annual income.
While some of Brighton’s medical costs should be covered by Medicaid, the family doesn’t qualify due to Jake’s salary, which is roughly $40,000 a year, WFFA reports. And while state assistance is available, it could take more than a decade — Brighton is 59,979 on the waiting list.
“It’s drowning us try to keep up with her medical expenses,” Jake told Today. “We’ve done everything we can do to try to keep her afloat. And we’re going to reach a point where we can’t do it and we won’t have another option. We don’t know what to do.”
The worst-case scenario? Get divorced so Maria can qualify for Medicaid as a single, unemployed mother.
“We shouldn’t have to make that sacrifice to get our child Medicaid,” Maria said. [But] you try anything when it comes to your child.”
The duo — who are also parents to daughter Fairen, 2 — hope that going public with their story may help enact change.
“We are not looking for charity,” Maria explained. “We’re not looking for money or donations. We don’t want a Go Fund Me, we don’t want any of that. I need the state to step up and give me the benefits that I need.”
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Although divorce is an option, neither Jake nor Maria want to go down that path.
“For someone to kind of make you choose between your marriage and your child is just — it’s just a really weird spot to be in,” Jake told WFAA. “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.”
Added Maria: “We promised to each other and to her that we’d do whatever we could do to make her life, however long she’s going to be with us, as good as possible.”
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