Medication delivery, bill payments and the economy are in danger as Trump disrupts the post office

(Editor’s note: This post contains a mistake. Social Security no longer mails out its checks. Recipients receive their payments through direct deposit. I apologize for the error.)

Playing fast and loose with voters’ rights and the United States Postal Service is a dangerous game, something President Trump clearly is doing.

So much more is at stake than just his reelection when he messes with the post office. He thinks he is the only one with something to lose. Hardly. Every American is a player in this game, and we all could leave the table empty handed.

Unashamedly putting it out there and not trying to hide the true motives for his actions, Trump, in a recent interview with Fox Business, criticized a $3.4 trillion coronavirus relief bill passed in May by House Democrats that included $25 billion for the postal service and $3.5 billion in election assistance to states. (The Senate has refused to act on the House bill, and negotiations between Democrats and the White House over a new relief package remain stalled, according to CBS News.)

He said he opposes the Democrats’ demands because the money would be used to facilitate mail-in voting for November’s elections.

“They want $25 billion, billion, for the post office. Now, they need that money in order to have the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said. “But if they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting because they’re not equipped to have it.”

The key phrase here is “to have the post office work.” Does that mean he does not want the post office to work as it was meant to?

If the post office “doesn’t work,” people nationwide will feel the pain — actual pain — because millions of Americans rely on the post office to deliver their medications, paychecks, Social Security disbursements, pension payouts and other important business communications.

That includes many seniors, which make up a large part of his base. Why he would want to hurt them is something I don’t get at all.

Another reason Trump is against mail-in voting is he thinks a foreign entity, such as Russia or China, will “rig” the election by printing up millions of phony ballots and submitting them as the real thing, sending Joe Biden to the White House.

This would be virtually impossible because each of the thousands of jurisdictions in the U.S. designs and prints their own ballots, complete with security measures, local candidates’ names and measures specific to that county or state. Creating all those ballots would be nearly impossible.

When Trump disrupts the operation of the post office, he is poking his finger into one of the most cherished and necessary segments of Americans’ lives. Not only is the postal service Constitutionally guaranteed, but it is something upon which so many people depend.

Take veterans, for example. According to the VA,

“the VA Mail Order Pharmacy processed 119.7 million outpatient prescriptions in fiscal year 2016.  The Department of Veterans Affairs provides approximately 80% of all outpatient prescriptions to Veterans via mail order utilizing the VA Mail Order Pharmacy, a system of 7 highly automated pharmacies.

“The VA Mail Order Pharmacy processes 470,000 prescriptions daily and every work day over 330,000 Veterans receive a package of prescriptions in the mail.”

Based on some reports, that number is up to more than 600,000 today.

Many of these veterans are home-bound and, because of wounds, other conditions, or age, cannot travel to pharmacies to get their prescriptions. These heroes need to have their medications delivered on time or they suffer the consequences. Why doesn’t the president understand that?

And it’s not only veterans who should be concerned.

Express Scripts, one of many companies that offer prescriptions by mail, says it has 83 million members, each of whom count on the postal service to deliver their medications. And while other delivery services exist, Express Scripts says “most medications are shipped via the U.S. Postal Service at no cost to” the client.

Imagine needing some vital medication and having it delayed because Trump is afraid that voting by mail will cost him the election.

And the post office does so much more than deliver life-saving medications.

Many people, me included, still pay some of their bills by mail. We rely on our payments arriving at their destinations on time and with no problems.

If that didn’t happen, many of us would have to pay late fees and suffer credit problems. That could have a domino effect on the economy if we became credit risks, through no fault of our own, and could not take out loans, use our credit cards or in some other way be hampered in our efforts to make purchases.

So think about it. This sweeping attack on the postal service by a selfish president is more than just an immoral and unjust power grab. It is something that will reach into every home and should make each one of us very scared.

Published by Mike Sturman

I am a retired journalist with nearly 30 years in the field, during which time I was a reporter and held numerous editor positions at local newspapers and a number of magazines. After I retired, I was a sub in my local school district, then did PR for that district. I hold a Bachelor's Degree in journalism, and as for my politics, that's simple: I'm a liberal Democrat. I'm married, and my wife recently retired after 25 years as a teacher. We have one daughter, who has earned her PhD and works at a UC. Through this blog, I hope to pass on some interesting thoughts and ideas, entertain with some lighthearted posts and generally quell my pandemic-induced boredom.

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