Under Trump, USPS Slowdown Sparks Medication Delivery Concerns

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has warned that nearly every state in the country may not be able to see mail-in ballots delivered in time amid a slowdown in postal delivery prompted by controversial changes made by the agency's new postmaster.

The warning was delivered in a flurry of letters released to states on Friday night, just less than two weeks after the USPS had assured the public in a statement that it would have the capacity to deal with the additional volume created by mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that voters consider alternatives to casting their ballots in person in the upcoming general election, with mail-in voting being a primary alternative.

However, Trump and other Republicans have railed against the use of mail-in-voting, despite the president himself requesting a mail-in ballot to vote in Florida's primary.

And now, with a slowdown at the USPS, under changes made by new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, which critics have claimed are being made to assist Trump's election bid, there are warnings that the voting process isn't the only thing being affected.

In a statement published on Twitter on Saturday, Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar warned that U.S. residents were also seeing medication deliveries held up by the delays.

"[Trump's] dismantling of the @USPS is a national emergency," Escobar wrote.

"He's not just undermining our elections, but he's holding up medication, checks, and other critical pieces of mail for his nefarious purposes," she said. "Trump doesn't care about America. Trump only cares about Trump."

The New York Times spoke to the wife of one such resident, with 67-year-old Michele Brown, who lives in Morley, Michigan, telling the publication that her 73-year-old husband, Bill, was forced to go three days without medication to treat his diabetes due to apparent mail delays.

"I feel like they're playing games," Brown said. "The mail had worked so efficiently. Letters I sent got there the next day. Now you can't count on any of that."

With diabetes considered among the conditions that make individuals more vulnerable to suffering serious health impacts of coronavirus, the delay in medication deliveries is particularly concerning.

Yet, as The Times noted, with postal workers having drivers sent out according to strict schedules, whether or not the morning's mail is completely ready for delivery, and with delivery trucks having strict cutoff times for when they have to leave, getting everyone's mail quickly appears to have become a difficult task.

Postal workers also told the publication that their teams are already short-staffed due to the coronavirus outbreak and the new rules imposed by DeJoy have only created further hurdles.

Newsweek has contacted the USPS and White House for comment.

Close-up of the side of a United States Postal Service (USPS) delivery truck delivering mail and packages in San Ramon, California, October 18, 2017. Critics are warning that medication deliveries are also being affected by a USPS slowdown. Smith Collection/Gado/Getty