Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

ONE DAY left in this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Demonstrators gather outside of the condo of President Donald Trump donor and current U.S. Postmaster General Louis Dejoy on August 15, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Michael A. McCoy/Getty Images)

DeJoy Mail Delays 'Could Very Well Be Deadly,' Sanders Warns After Analysis Shows 14 Million Rely on Medicine Deliveries

"Millions rely on the Postal Service for prescription drugs that treat diabetes, high blood pressure, and more," said Sen. Bernie Sanders. "Postmaster General DeJoy must go."

Jake Johnson

An analysis published Thursday by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation warns that package delays caused by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service could threaten the health of millions of Americans who rely on timely delivery of mail-order prescriptions.

KFF estimates that at least "14 million enrollees in Medicare Part D and large employer plans relied on mail-order pharmacies for at least one prescription in 2018, with a total of over 170 million prescriptions fulfilled."

"Drugs used to treat chronic conditions, including hypothyroidism, high cholesterol, hypertension, and Type 2 diabetes are among the prescriptions most commonly filled by mail order for Medicare Part D enrollees and large employer plan enrollees," KFF noted. "Therefore, delays in delivery due to changes to the operations of the U.S. Postal Service could lead to negative health consequences if it compromises patients' ability to adhere to their medication regimens."

"Mr. DeJoy, your decisions have cost Americans their health, their time, their livelihoods, and their peace of mind. I believe you owe them an apology for the harm you have caused."
—Sen. Gary Peters

In response to the KFF analysis, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) tweeted that the "attack on the Postal Service doesn't just threaten our election, it could very well be deadly."

"Millions rely on the Postal Service for prescription drugs that treat diabetes, high blood pressure, and more," Sanders wrote. "Postmaster General DeJoy must go."

Earlier this week, DeJoy vowed to temporarily suspend—but not reverse—USPS operational changes that resulted in nationwide mail backlogs. The Washington Post reported Thursday that after the November election, DeJoy intends to take "actions that could lead to slower mail delivery in parts of the country and higher prices for some mail services."

Recent news reports and anecdotal accounts relayed by lawmakers have detailed the impact DeJoy's policies had on medicine deliveries prior to his commitment to putting the changes on hold.

As he questioned DeJoy during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing Friday, Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) said his office has received more than 7,500 reports of mail delays from constituents, with some reporting that the delays forced them to skip doses of their medications.

"Mr. DeJoy, your decisions have cost Americans their health, their time, their livelihoods, and their peace of mind," said Peters. "I believe you owe them an apology for the harm you have caused."

As the New York Times reported Thursday, "Veterans have been particularly affected by mail delays because the Department of Veterans Affairs relies on the Postal Service for delivery."

Jan Stowe, a 74-year-old veteran living in Traverse City, Michigan, told the Times that in July she suffered acute pain for four days because she did not receive the prescription Valium she takes for chronic muscle spasms.

"This medicine is to me lifesaving because it keeps me upright and mobile," said Stowe.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just ONE DAY left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

As US Rolls Back Reproductive Rights, Sierra Leone Moves to Decriminalize Abortion

"I'm hopeful today's announcement gives activists in the U.S., and especially Black women given the shared history, a restored faith that change is possible and progress can be made."

Brett Wilkins ·

'Indefensible': Outrage as New Reporting Shines Light on Biden Deal With McConnell

The president has reportedly agreed to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime judgeship. In exchange, McConnell has vowed to stop blocking two Biden picks for term-limited U.S. attorney posts.

Jake Johnson ·

Assange Makes Final Appeal Against US Extradition

"If Julian Assange is not free, neither are we," said a protester at a Friday demonstration against the WikiLeaks founder's impending transfer. "None of us is free."

Brett Wilkins ·

'Payoff for 40 Years of Dark Money': Supreme Court Delivers for Corporate America

"It was the conservative court's larger agenda to gut the regulatory state and decimate executive powers to protect Americans' health and safety," warned one expert.

Jake Johnson ·

NARAL Pro-Choice Endorses Fetterman—Who Vows to End Senate Filibuster to Protect Abortion Rights

"We know we can count on him to boldly fight for abortion rights and access," said the head of one of the nation's largest reproductive rights advocacy groups.

Jon Queally ·

Common Dreams Logo