By Linda Porterfield, Charlotte County Dems Writer
It’s not just your vote under attack.
The Trump administration’s chokehold and financial bludgeoning of the post office provides fringe benefits in the war on what defenders of the post office call “the circulatory system of our nation.” While Republican challenges to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) smolder in the courts, Trump is sneaking in through the back door of the post office to fire yet another salvo at your health care.
Congratulations Mr. President. You have just achieved the grocery store equivalent of a BOGO (buy-one-get-one-free) …destroy one, get another destroyed while you’re at it!
Along with the potentially millions of vote-by- mail (VBM) ballots in danger of not being counted, Trump is systematically eliminating the crucial role of the USPS in our health care system. The post office handles 1.2 billion prescription drug shipments a year — nearly 4 million every day, six days a week–and also provides “last-mile” delivery into neglected rural areas for tens of millions of packages for FedEx, UPS and Amazon.
Pay attention. An attack on our post office is an attack on our seniors and endangers all voters by forcing a choice between exposure to a deadly virus at the polls or sacrificing the right to vote.
According to a report from the National Community Pharmacists Association 52% of Americans receiving medications through the USPS are over the age of 65 and 54 percent of this group take more than four different types of medication. If the post office shuts down or even sustains additional financial cutbacks, many seniors could be left without affordable, or even any, options to access vital drugs.
The Trump administration assault on the USPS also presents grave danger to our veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs provides 80% of all outpatient prescriptions to Veterans via mail order. Each day 330,000 veterans receive packages of prescriptions in the mail. Reports of delays indicate medications are now requiring four and five times the normal arrival time if they arrive at all.
These assaults are very personal and occur throughout the country. The Kansas City Star, for example, cites Jack Bainbridge, a 70 -year old veteran in Kansas, who would have to make a 90-mile round trip to the VA Medical Center in Kansas City if he could not receive his prescriptions through the mail. And there are many others.
Deborah Arnold, a 72-year-old retired teacher, reports she began receiving prescriptions through the mail to cut down on potential exposure to COVID-19. “Two of them are eye drops that prevent the worsening of my glaucoma and possible blindness…without USPS I’ll be forced to weigh vision vs illness (possibly leading to death). Not a very acceptable choice!”
Aside from the people hurt by Trump’s war on the post office, a sector of the economy is also at risk. Mail order pharmacies are big business. Nationally, 603 companies are licensed as mail order pharmacies in the United States. Florida hosts 141 of these businesses. Mail order prescriptions totaled $8,239, 593,852 in revenue for Florida in 2019. It is pure conjecture if complaints from these businesses will have any impact on the velocity of Trump’s attacks. We know pleas from suffering people, especially those with physical and mental challenges, financial difficulties, homeowners facing eviction, and the unemployed will not.
Over the years Trump has promised to decrease the price of prescription drugs. The federal government recently approved a Florida plan to import drugs from Canada and Trump blessed the arrangement by signing an Executive Order on July 24th.
Guess how these drugs will arrive at to your door.
Can you see the elephant in the room?
Through his callous, selfish eroding of the USPS to cheat his way into another term he is sabotaging the main distribution system supporting the very plan he just authorized!
Oh, the irony.
The Trump administration has shattered supportive systems sustaining our country for a hundred years. We are left with a crazy network of non-working parts once comprising a synergistic plan, called democracy, held together by the connective tissue of the USPS.
Save our Democracy. Vote for the Biden-Harris ticket November 3rd. They already have a functioning plan.
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