In these pandemic days, most of us are used to the daily visits from trucks belonging to Amazon, Fed-X and UPS, as well as Uber and Lyft drivers delivering everything from food to clothing and parts for DIY plumbing and electric repairs.
With all that private delivery service activity going on, it’s easy to forget about the United States Postal Service (USPS). The Post Office also delivers needed things to our door: letters, bills, sometimes checks or refunds, and even packages.
What those of us living in urban or suburban communities are largely unaware of though is how critically important the US Postal Service is to people living in remote rural towns or in the proverbial “middle of nowhere” in vast stretches of the United States. Often, such out-of-the-way locations are simply not served by private delivery services like Amazon, FedEx or UPS, which have the option to decide a runout of 20 miles one way to make a single delivery of a bottle of shampoo or a replacement door latch is not worth the effort.
In such cases, the customer has to rely on the postal service, which by law is required to make daily deliveries to every person in the country, however, remote their home or local post office.
The big private delivery services also use the Post Office to make “final mile” deliveries that they cannot profitably handle.
According to a report in the magazine Popular Science, about one-in-five Americans over the age of 40 rely on the Post Office to receive prescription medicines, many of these of life-threatening importance like blood pressure or diabetes maintenance drugs, or in recent years, opioid pain medication. One-in-five Americans also — both rural and low-income urban dwellers, not having reliable internet access – also turn to the postal service to receive and pay their bills (which when delayed can lead to costly late fees).
The Veterans Administration (VA) reports that some 300,000 US veterans rely on the mail to receive their medications.
According to a report by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, 1.2 billion prescriptions were delivered to patients during 2019 by the USPS. That, of course, was before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, which has made many older people unwilling to pick up their medicine, leading to much greater reliance on the Post Office for delivery.
The importance of the USPS for the timely delivery of medications and also for sending off samples by rural patients for things like colorectal cancer testing, has been largely amid the welter of reports about service cutbacks ordered by new Trump-appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
Shortly after being confirmed, DeJoy summarily canceled postal worker overtime, ordered the removal of a record 671 postal sorting machines and had thousands of free-standing blue postal drop boxes, often the only way to get a package or letter picked up and mailed in rural communities, hauled away…
For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF, part of a joint publication project by ThisCantBeHappening.net and the investigative news site tarbell.org, please to to: https://tarbell.org/2020/08/attack-by-trump-and-his-2-million-donor-postmaster-general-dejoy-threatens-publics-health/