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Posted on October 10, 2011 at 1:07 PM

What does the postal service have to do with healthcare? Sure, the USPS delivers medical supplies to individuals and organizations. But that is not the connection that the nation’s postmaster general is making between healthcare and the viability of the postal service.

According to WaPo, curing the USPS’s ills could be as simple as giving its workers and retirees a new health plan, one that isn’t foisted upon them by the federal government. The Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan (FEHBP), he argues, is just too costly for the USPS. If they could opt out, a separate federal postal healthcare system could save the organization billions.

Is this THE way that we will save the USPS? Probably not. What we all need to do is buy a few stamps and remember what it’s like to write a letter by hand.

But in lieu of that, the USPS is arguing that health policy changes and improved quality of care for its workers and their families will save this important national institution. Whether it will is going to become a matter of “study” (read: long-term evaluation and delay of a decision on the issue). Until then, remember that your postal carrier is facing a healthcare crisis of his/her own and that even the future of their field is in our hands.

Summer Johnson McGee, PhD

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