Charles Krauthammer’s strident attack on the Affordable Care Act [“Story of the year,” op-ed, Dec. 20] should serve notice to progressives everywhere that today’s conservative Republicans will oppose anything they propose, regardless of the merits. After all, the health-care law was a compromise from the beginning to appease those on the right who would have yelled “socialism” if President Obama and Congress had opted for a single-payer plan or even a “public option,” even though most progressives agree these would represent better solutions.

Progressives need to learn their lesson: Be bold and propose the best solutions you can think of to solve problems. Do not worry what the other side might say because they will oppose and attack any proposal regardless. If the president proposed a bill that would cure cancer, the Republicans would yell “bloody murder” rather than work with him.

Thomas Poling, Frederick

Like other progressives, I was disappointed that the Affordable Care Act did not include a public option. Why, I wondered, do we continue to have so many uninsured people, such complexity of implementing health-care reform through the private sector, such administrative expense? All the while our Medicare system rolls on, a model of efficiency and low cost.

But I see that my disappointment was misplaced. There is, in fact, good news for progressives. Charles Krauthammer has explained it all. The Affordable Care Act is, in fact, a public option — the option was cleverly hiding in the law’s depths. What relief and excitement! As Mr. Krauthammer wound up his column, “Welcome 2014, our first taste of nationalized health care.” Hallelujah!

Stephen Levitas, Bethesda