Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in Washington on July 27. (Cliff Owen/Associated Press)

Regarding the July 29 front-page article “GOP unsure what to do about ACA”:

It boggles my mind that only three Republican senators had the courage and principle to oppose a bill that many others in their conference said openly was a terrible piece of legislation. Bravo for them! They did their job, not just to protect their own constituents but also to serve as a check and balance to a runaway White House that has been trying to throw millions of people under the health-coverage bus just to score a victory. There are at least three adults in the Senate who see past partisan tribalism to work for the good of all Americans.

Doing away with the individual mandate would doom the Affordable Care Act. Giving a choice to younger, healthier people not to purchase health coverage would fatally undermine the whole premise of spreading the costs among all, regardless of age and preexisting conditions. Someday those young people will get older and need medical care. That is what people do in cohesive societies: They spread the risk just as they accept spreading the costs of government services when they pay taxes. It’s not about individual freedom; it’s about collective rights.

So thanks to Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and John McCain (R-Ariz.). They did the right thing to save the rest of us, regardless of party, from social-policy disaster.

Carol Bouville, Gaithersburg

I am a lifelong Republican . I almost caved in last week and changed party affiliation. I’m a few years behind Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) academically; I went to a different university and settled on aeronautical engineering.

I often wondered how it felt to be shot down and captured by the enemy and imprisoned for more than five years. I was working hard during this time on defense projects (myopia kept me from flying) and getting a nice groove on my mahogany slide rule.

As last week progressed, I was wondering which form of heroism I might see from Mr. McCain. The accumulated years of politics are wearing — I served 24 years in nonpartisan positions — and some scars linger for a long time. Would this be the partisan Mr. McCain trying to atone for his occasional loyalty lapses?

We now know the answer. Despite unspeakable and ruthless pressure on intransigent Republican senatorial holdouts, a valorous triumvirate of Mr. McCain, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) emerged to halt the madness. Everybody knows the bill was a bad idea — with a 17 percent approval rating, insurance companies up in arms and many people wondering if they would be covered.

I’m newly inspired by what happened in the Senate and hope some long-term good prevails. I would like to thank the triumvirate.

David Pyatt, Mount Airy