How to support Community and Individual choices?
(a traveller’s perspective)
The Power Of An Address
In the late 1990’s I found myself in China as part of a University sponsored exchange program. I was assigned to the University Women’s Hospital with my own personal translator/guide. She carried the same title as myself, Nurse Midwife. Though our roles had different cultural interpretations, our focus was the same – Women’s Health Services.
What and How services were provided was the topic of discussions through out my stay. The What included traditional women’s gynecological and obstetrical services. The How was a foreign process to me.
Services were made available by the state based on a woman’s address. All citizens had to live at their assigned address in order to obtain health and other services.
In addition, every neighborhood had a monitor who was responsible for recording the women’s monthly fertility status and resource consumption. This system was designed to maintain the health of the woman and her community.
There were no missed appointments or non-adherence to medical treatments. There were guaranteed resources such as food, water, electricity, employment, and education.
I admit the idea of a state assigned address felt strange. However, the process was successful in distributing resources and improving women’s health status.
Post 9/11, I purchased a RV trailer to live in while pursuing a career as a Locum Tenens health care provider. I loved traveling around the USA attending women in diverse situations and settings – correctional facilities, rural & Indian health and other understaffed locales.
The first sign that my living style was not sanctioned occurred in a public library where I was denied access due to having a RV Park address. Next, I learned that I could not deduct travel expenses from my income tax because I did not have a ‘legal’ address. I was required to pay taxes as if I was a ‘migrant worker’ instead of a trained professional who travelled. My income tax burden was excessive at 50% and I could not access many of the benefits of my contributions.
Finally, I discovered that my licenses to practice in my profession, to drive, to own a vehicle were also in violation of the ‘no legal address’ rule. It was suggested that I purchase a PO Box but that too was denied a person with an RV Park address.
In China you could choose to not accept the state assigned address and forfeit the state supplied benefits.
In the USA you cannot always choose your address. Yet, you are required to pay taxes for benefits not received.
What’s this about?