Robert Reich: The requirement that everyone purchase health insurance, or pay a fine doesn’t appeal to many Americans. They don’t like the government telling them they have to buy something. But the healthcare system can’t work without this mandate. Only if everyone buys insurance can insurers afford to cover people with preexisting conditions, or pay the costs of catastrophic diseases.
Ron Wolff: California’s “new” (but experienced) governor is bringing some urgently needed honesty and fresh thinking to the budgeting process in a state weary of smoke, mirrors, a two-thirds requirement in the legislature for tax increases, and the ravages of a recession imposed largely by external forces.
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Tina Dupuy: 40% of Americans actually make New Year’s resolutions. Sure, I did it once – five years ago this week I reluctantly quit smoking. How did I quit? Arctic turkey. I simply didn’t smoke. People who have never smoked think this is the moment of triumph. I went from heavy smoking to heavy sobbing.
Robert Reich: Next week starts the new Congress, and with it the Tea Party conservatives. What are they going to do about government spending? Knowing they don’t stand a chance of getting a direct repeal of the healthcare mandate, they’ll try to strip the federal budget appropriation of money needed to put the healthcare mandate into effect. This could lead to a standoff with the White House over government funding in general, and a possible government shutdown.