Couple Considers Divorce To Pay For Their Daughter's Health Condition

Brighton has a rare chromosomal disorder called Wolf Hirschhorn Syndrome and has hearing and vision impairments

The Texas couple says it's the only way their developmentally disabled daughter can qualify for Medicaid and get the health care she needs.

Maria and Jake Grey, who live in Sanger, Texas, spend over $15,000 a year out of pocket - despite having health insurance - for daughter Brighton's health care. Brighton suffers from a genetic chromosomal disorder known as Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome and is in need of round-the-clock care. The disorder has also delayed her growth and development. "You really have to adapt to someone needing you 24/7, all the time", Maria explained. "We've had a newborn for six and a half years", Maria told WFAA. Due to Brighton's condition, the six-year-old has vision and hearing impairments and has seizures. In the wealthiest nation on the planet, a hard-working family must decide if they should end their marriage in order to pay for their child's medical expenses.

The couple said they are on a public waiting list, but it could take decades as they are now number 59,979. 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.

People get divorced for plenty of reasons, but usually it's over issues that involve the couple's inability to happily stay together.

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'We just have struggled and struggled with it. "I guess now we've gotten to the point where we feel like (divorce) is a real possibility", Jake stated.

"We shouldn't have to make that sacrifice to get our child Medicaid", Grey said. Dr. Thad Miller, a health care policy expert at UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth, suspects that many families - especially those whittling on assistance waiting lists - face a similar grim decision.

"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", Maria told WFAA. But they're considering a divorce, for the sake of one of their kids. As the family does not fall into the category, they are planning to separate which would make Maria Grey a single unemployed mother.

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