Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux

Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux is a writing fellow at the Prospect. Her email is

Recent Articles

The ACA Can't Fix Our Mental Health Crisis

AP Images/Bob Wands
AP Images/Bob Wands A s more people sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act, the next few months will usher in a fundamental change in mental health care. Under the ACA, insurers are for the first time required to cover mental health and substance abuse treatment as one of ten “essential benefits.” This is good news for the millions of Americans who suffer from some form of mental illness but don’t seek treatment. The question now is whether the country’s mental health infrastructure is equipped to deal with an avalanche of new patients. The answer? Probably not. Mental health care is saddled with two problems: It’s expensive and inaccessible. A 2012 survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that more than 18 percent of American adults suffered from some form of mental illness in the past year . Of the forty percent who sought treatment, more than one-third paid for it out-of-pocket. To put this in perspective, only about 16 percent of...

Daily Meme: To Nugent, or Not to Nugent

Remember Ted Nugent? If the sands of the past year have managed to erase all thoughts of the ageing rocker, gun fanatic, and raging conservative, you're in for a rude awakening. Nugent is back in the headlines after declaring ( at—where else—a gun website ) that President Obama was a "chimpanzee" and a "sub-human mongrel." Well, actually, those remarks happened over a month ago . (He also said Hillary Clinton has "spare scrotums." ) The real controversy now is whether GOP candidates should be fundraising with him. Right now, Nugent is on the campaign trail with the Republican candidate for Texas governor, Greg Abbott. At first, Abbott had nothing but nice things to say about his inflammatory " blood brother ." Who else was going to point out how much Abbott's opponent, Wendy Davis, hates guns? ( Plus, registration for Abbott's events tripled after Nugent announced he'd be appearing too .) But then the current governor of Texas, Rick Perry, started dodging some uncomfortable questions...

Needling for Change

AP Images/Jae C. Hong
AP Images/Jae C. Hong F or the first few years Liz Evans worked at the Portland Hotel Society, a network of homeless shelters in central Vancouver, she would arrive at her job already exhausted. On her morning walk through Downtown Eastside—a neighborhood infamous as the poorest zip code in Canada—she stepped over drug addicts passed out in doorways and sidled around alleys where people would cook dope and shoot up in broad daylight. It was 1993, and Vancouver was in the throes of an HIV epidemic. Tens of thousands of impoverished injection drug users were crammed into a fifteen-block radius. The Portland Hotel Society was one of the few housing projects in the city that welcomed drug addicts, and working there felt like triage. Evans, a nurse, trained her staff to intervene when the residents overdosed. “It was such a painful time,” Evans says. “These weren’t people who were partying or using drugs to have fun. They were poor and sick and dying.” Desperate for a solution, city...

Daily Meme: A Brief History of Presidential Groveling

Art history majors, relax. The president doesn't think that you should chuck your books on contemporary color theory and go take a course in carpentry. In late January, Obama told a crowd at a factory in Wisconsin that people could make more money with skills in manufacturing than an art history degree. Yesterday, Obama ate his words , confessing in a personal note to a disgruntled art historian that art history was actually one of his favorite subjects in school. As presidential apologies go, this one wasn't so bad. It was less humiliating, certainly, than the time the Obama White House had to ask forgiveness from the American (and British) people for incorrectly insisting they still had a bust of Winston Churchill on loan from Britain . Or the time Obama had to apologize to Kamala Harris , California's attorney general, for extolling her beauty in front of a group of wealthy donors. Over the years, presidents have gotten pretty good at expressing regret. But the magical words "I'm...

Why Don't We Have Viagra for Women Yet?

AP Images/Allen Breed
L ast week, a small drug company called Sprout Pharmaceuticals announced that its version of “female Viagra” —a medication designed to enhance women’s libidos—was going back for yet another battery of tests. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants more data on how Sprout’s drug, the whimsically named “flibanserin,” affects driving ability. If this news sparked a little twinge of déjà vu, don’t be surprised. For more than a decade, pharmaceutical companies have trudged through round after round of clinical trials in pursuit of a drug that can alleviate some of the symptoms of female sexual dysfunction. Inevitably, a new set of tests makes headlines. Given Viagra’s blockbuster success since it was approved in 1998—in 2012, sales totaled more than $2 billion—there is a huge untapped market for a drug like flibanserin. More than 40 percent of women suffer from some form of sexual dysfunction in their lifetime. The most common complaint is hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), a...