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Smartphone or health insurance?

A US lawmaker’s comment that people should give up their smartphones and pay more for health insurance has led to an outpouring of statements about the utility of the many uses that can be made of smartphones:

“A cellphone is a lifeline,” said Myla Dutton, executive director of Community Action Provo, a food bank and social-service nonprofit.

Jose Valdivia, 61, said he wouldn’t be able to quickly look up the latest engine modifications when he was repairing sport-utility vehicles at the mechanic’s shop where he works. His wife said they wouldn’t be able to send photos to relatives in Mexico City.

The couple spoke as they waited for an appointment at a free health clinic run by volunteer nurses and doctors two nights a week in Provo. Not surprisingly, smartphones abounded in the waiting room. People texted about dinner, called relatives with updates, held their children’s attention with a game.

Without her phone, Joana Delacruz, 45, said, she wouldn’t be able to see job postings from nursing employers, or check whether she should bring home some food for her 18-year-old son after finishing her 3-11 p.m. shifts managing a McDonald’s in Provo.

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