By Consumers for Quality Care, on July 17, 2018
Maria and Jake Grey’s daughter Brighton has a rare chromosomal disorder called Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome. The disorder means that Brighton, who is six, needs round-the-clock care. Still a newborn by developmental standards, Brighton has seizures, vision, hearing, heart and kidney problems, and more. The Greys are considering divorce as an answer to their health care costs concerns, WFAA reports.
“You know, when you have a newborn, everything gets really stressful. 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.”
Despite having insurance, the Greys say they pay $15,000 yearly, out of pocket. The costs make up more than 30 percent of their income.
“I used to get anxiety just opening the mail because I was scared of what would come or what bill would come or what denial would come,” Maria said through tears.
The Greys have applied for state assistance from Texas, but are on waitlists. On one list, the family is number 59,979.
If the couple was to split, Maria could qualify for Medicaid as a single, jobless mother.
“We’ve just struggled and struggled with it, and now we’ve gotten to the point, where we feel it’s a real possibility,” Jake said.
Dr. Thad Miller, a health care policy expert at UNT Health Science Center, calls the amount of health care costs the Grey’s have “extreme.” While he says he has never heard of a family divorcing to tackle health care related costs, he doesn’t doubt that there are others facing the same predicament.
“It’s just shocking, and I really think it speaks to our need to really rethink what we do and how especially for the most vulnerable,” Dr. Miller said.
The Greys feel they’re being put in an impossible position, forced to choose between their daughter’s health and keeping the family together.
But they fear they have no choice. “…it’s conflicting for me too, because I feel like what’s happening to us is morally wrong,” Jake said.
“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 said.