In the fight over the Affordable Care Act, some genuinely thoughtful and moderate people are saying, why not delay the measure from taking effect for a year? Maybe the Democrats could trade a permanent lifting of the debt ceiling for the delay. Maybe it would give us time to work out the kinks. What could be wrong with that?

Probably nothing for most of us. But for the 20 million people who would be without health insurance, it would be a very big deal. Some pregnant women would not get the prenatal care they need. Some children would not get vaccinations. Some seriously ill people would be forced to choose between the care they need and financial ruin.

So I wonder: How many people would die for lack of health insurance if implementation were delayed? And how many would have to die for us to consider it too many?

Peter D. Adelsheim, Seattle