Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

In a floor speech honoring the nation's federal employees, Sen. Kaufman applauds Iris Morales for her work at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Chicago

October 28, 2009

Mr. KAUFMAN. I rise once again to recognize the service of one of America's great Federal employees. Right now the Congress, the President, and the American public are engaged in historic discussions about the future of our health insurance system. This is one of the most important issues facing the country.

The dedicated public servant I will speak about today works for a government-run health insurance program already serving 44 million Americans. Medicare was established in 1965. Its mission is to provide coverage for all Americans over the age of 65. At the time of its creation, Medicare faced criticism from those who were apprehensive of a government-run health insurance program. Today, however, Medicare is praised as a great success. Indeed, its fiercest defenders sit on both sides in this Chamber.

Medicare continues to protect nearly one out of every seven Americans against what would be otherwise prohibitive medical costs. The reason for its success is not only that it provides a much needed service to America's seniors; one of its greatest strengths is that the men and women who administer Medicare benefits are among the most outstanding Federal employees. They work for an agency called the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services or CMS. The CMS employee I will talk about today has worked as a Medicare benefits administrator for 11 years. Iris Morales joined the CMS Chicago Regional Office after having first served several years in the Navy. She has been on the front line as a benefits administrator helping to set at ease those who contact the CMS with inquiries about their coverage.

Iris has called her job incredibly rewarding, and she is one of so many Medicare administrators who spend their days solving problems for America's seniors. On one day she might work to make sure a cancer patient has access to lifesaving chemotherapy. On the next Iris might reassure beneficiaries that their co-payments are low enough for them to afford critical treatments.

Iris is set to retire next year, and when she does, she will join the ranks of Medicare beneficiaries herself. I know that Iris, as a beneficiary, will receive from those helping her in the years to come the same kind of attention to detail, diligence, and professionalism she has demonstrated through her years at CMS.

Iris Morales and all of the hard-working employees of CMS are proof of the constructive and important role our government already plays in ensuring Americans' access to affordable health care. I hope my colleagues will join me in recognizing this unsung hero and all of the employees at CMS. I honor their contributions, and I thank them for the great job they do every day. I know that America's seniors are grateful for their patience, their caring, and their service to the Nation.

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