Among the strengths of the United States is that we have 50 of these states, each a laboratory of democracy with its own legislature and ways. That also creates challenges when the U.S. Congress takes up complicated legislation like the health-care bill before the Senate.

Not every state is as responsible as every other. In Minnesota, for example, businesses, non-profits and legislators have done more, and better, work toward supporting an efficient health-care system than those in some other states. National health-care legislation that didn't recognize this could punish Minnesota for having done the right thing before the right thing was cool. With that in mind, we appreciate that U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar played good defense on behalf of Minnesota during the current health care debate.

Klobuchar's influence on Medicare and Medicaid portions of the bill was important, as was her influence on the size of the proposed tax on medical devices (it started at a job-killing $38 billion and moved down to a still huge but better $20 billion).

We have our doubts about how much actual "reform" is in the bill (which puts us in the company of friends on both the right and the left), and we simply don't believe that future Congresses will have the courage to contain its cost. But Klobuchar says the Senate bill makes an effort at cost reform, represents the first serious federal effort to reward quality care and saves millions from being damned to unaffordable coverage by pre-existing conditions.

Whether the bill delivers on what its advocates promise will depend on the continued attention of reasonable, cost-conscious legislators, Klobuchar among them.