Last updated on: 10/1/2010 | Author:

Jean Carmalt, JD Biography

Former Legal Coordinator of the Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR)
Pro to the question "Should All Americans Have the Right (Be Entitled) to Health Care?"

“In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed a ‘Second Bill of Rights’ for Americans, declaring ‘freedom from want’ to be one of four essential liberties necessary for human security. Roosevelt’s definition of freedom included ‘the right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.’

Unfortunately, the United States turned its back on Roosevelt’s vision, and as a result our health care system is in a state of ever-deepening crisis. Despite spending far more per capita on health care than any other country, U.S. has some of the poorest health indicators in the industrialized world. It is the only industrialized nation to deny its citizens universal access to medical services…

This record can be largely attributed to the notion that health care is simply one commodity among others, a privilege for those who can afford it rather than a fundamental human right for all. With a system that values profits over people, it is no surprise that health care costs continue to spiral out of control for ordinary Americans even as HMOs and pharmaceutical companies accumulate record-breaking profits. Only a new approach recognizing the right of every American to adequate health care can address the magnitude of the current crisis.”

“The Right to Health in America: What Does It Mean,”, Oct. 2004

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Graduate student, Department of Geography, University of Washington
  • Associate Director, Legal Policy & Analysis, Uplift International
  • Former Legal Coordinator, Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR)
  • JD, Cornell Law School
  • BA, Geography, Vassar
  • None found