Reads of the Week: Fixing Healthcare for the Young, and Expanding the Housing Supply, and Mental Health through Community - America's Future

April 16, 2021

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Reads of the Week: Fixing Healthcare for the Young, and Expanding the Housing Supply, and Mental Health through Community

By: AF Editors

Each week, we’ll be featuring opinion pieces from the alumni and current participants of AF’s Writing Fellows Program. A few highlights from the past week are below. Do you dream of having bylines like these? Learn more about how the Writing Fellows Program can help boost your writing career!

How to make the health care system fairer for young people by Elise Amez-Droz (Summer 2019) in Fortune

Following a new executive order, the Affordable Care Act (or “Obamacare”) marketplace enrollment recently reopened to help people regain health insurance lost during the pandemic. While not a bad idea, it will not be life-changing for very many Americans. A surprising number have managed to hold onto coverage, evidenced by stable enrollment numbers.

Instead of the usual obsession over insurance, we should pay more attention to overall access to care, where our money flows, and how the system penalizes younger generations. With the right reforms and a better awareness of the tools and flexibility already at our disposal, young Americans just might be able to change the script…

America Needs More Luxury Housing, Not Less by Nolan Gray (Fall 2015) in The Atlantic

If you were intentionally designing a development to spark a NIMBY backlash, you might come up with something that looks a lot like the Clay Apartments.* A brand new building located in Seattle’s rapidly developing Capitol Hill neighborhood, it adheres to a modern aesthetic of poured concrete, muted tones, and floor-to-ceiling windows. True to form, the website for the Clay Apartments celebrates amenities such as a rooftop deck and stainless steel appliances. Hosting 76 “micro units,” the project seems perfectly optimized to house the well-paid, single young professionals that companies such as Amazon have attracted to the city in droves.

Today, however, the Clay Apartments house Seattlites earning roughly a third of the median income, most of whom have recently struggled with homelessness. As reported in Next City, thanks to a deal struck by a local affordable housing non-profit, those suffering the brunt of Seattle’s housing shortage—a crisis that leaves nearly 12,000 Seatellites homeless—now enjoy a safe place to call home…

Harnessing community to counter military suicide by Beth Bailey (Fall 2018) in the Washington Examiner

The Defense Department’s latest quarterly suicide report revealed that suicides increased among active-duty service members and reservists over the course of 2020, with a 25% increase in reservist suicides during the fourth quarter of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019.

Some military leaders have attributed the increase to coronavirus “stress.” Pentagon spokesman Army Maj. Cesar Santiago emphasized that only a suicide rate, which has yet to be calculated, will “determine whether a true increase or decrease in suicides occurred across a given population…”