05/10/2008 07:01 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Mother's Day Gift We Can All Be Thankful For

This Mother's Day moms around the country will celebrate their special day with cards and flower. Unfortunately, many moms will not get their wish - access to quality, affordable health care for them and their families. A recent New York Times article demonstrate why we should take note. The article correctly notes that the rising tide of American health is not lifting everyone equally. The widening gaps in life expectancy are caused by the social determinants of health, including income, race, education, environment and geography.

The same concerns many mothers deal with on a daily basis including housing, transportation, education, energy, and health, yet most Americans think only of our health care system until we get sick. But our current health care system isn't the sole reason why racial and ethnic experience higher rates of death and illness.

Health equity is a social justice and moral issue. That is why, as a Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee's Health Subcommittee and Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus' Task Force on Health and the Environment, I am working hard to educate my colleagues about health equity. That is why I introduced H.R. 3014, the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2007. Although the legislation primarily focuses on improvements to our health care system, it is a big step forward in achieving health equity. This legislation will expand health coverage, remove language and cultural barriers, improve work force diversity, support and expand programs to reduce disparities, improve date collection, ensure accountability and strengthen health institutions that serve minority populations.

We need individuals including mothers in local communities, states, and at national level to speak about health equity. I am proud that more than 320 organizations and more than 100 Members of Congress support the Health Equity and Accountability Act. This Mother's Day, we should all stop and think about those mothers who won't get their wish and recommit ourselves to achieving health equity.