Postal reform an asset to newspapers

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Many established institutions have gone by the wayside because of the internet in the last decade or two, but one that needs to remain is postal delivery.

However, mail delays and a lack of carriers in recent history have weakened the dependability of the United States Postal Service. Congress recently took notice by passing the Postal Service Reform Act (PSRA) of 2022. The bill is now in front of President Joe Biden

The Reform Act will establish the Postal Service Health Benefits Program to offer health benefit plans for USPS employees and retirees. It also allows retirees to enroll in Medicare while repealing the requirement that USPS prepays future retirement and health benefits. The Congressional Budget Office says this alone will save the USPS more than $50 billion through 2031 but adds $55 billion in costs to Medicare.

This adjustment is meant to help alleviate some financial woes of the USPS.

Additionally, the act requires the USPS establish a dashboard that allows the public to track local and national delivery times, ensures six-day delivery and allows the USPS to offer nonpostal services for government agencies – such as local and state bodies.

One reason you may hear newspaper professionals celebrating the PSRA is the Rural Newspaper Sustainability Act, which would give newspapers using Within County mailing rates the ability to send more sample copies to non-subscribers.

Sampling is a method community newspapers use to attract new readers by sending newspapers to non-subscribers. Previously, newspapers could only send copies equaling just 10% of their annual mailings, which is now 50% under the bill.

As National Newspaper Association Chair Brett Wesner said in a recent NNA article, "the legislation gives community newspapers a new ability to regain subscribers lost by the past few years of slow mail delivery.”

Wesner additionally pointed out that the bill also leaves a little to be desired and challenged congress to now look at postage rates.

While additional legislation and work may be needed to fully restore customers' faith in the post office and the newspaper industry's trust, the bill is a much-needed start to help reboot a service that is still depended upon by millions.

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