Vermont appears to have given up on single-payer health insurance, having run out of other people’s money before the program even began.

If leftist Vermont can’t make it work, does that mean the drive for single-payer has been abandoned? One might think so, but not so fast. Perhaps the time just isn’t right:

“It is not the right time for Vermont” to pass a single-payer system, [Vermont Governor] Shumlin acknowledged in a public statement ending his signature initiative. He concluded the 11.5 percent payroll assessments on businesses and sliding premiums up to 9.5 percent of individuals’ income “might hurt our economy.”

Will there ever be a “right time”?:

“If cobalt blue Vermont couldn’t find a way to make single-payer happen, then it’s very unlikely that any other state will,” said Jack Mozloom, spokesman for the National Federation of Independent Business.

“There will never be a good time for a massive tax increase on employers and consumers in Vermont, so they should abandon that silly idea now and get serious,” Mozloom added.

Mozloom aside, the left will never stop trying. Never:

“It is time to put the interests of patients first, ahead of political expedience,” said Andrew Coates, president of Physicians for a National Health Care Program. Single-payer is “the only reform that will cover everyone, save lives and save money. Mr. Shumlin, of all our nation’s governors, knows this well.”

The rest of the article is devoted to proponents of single-payer saying why it is that although maybe the Vermont plan wasn’t quite right, single-payer is still a great idea. It just needs to be done in a different way, or at the federal level.

This sums it up:

Gottfried has been introducing his New York single-payer bill every year since 1992. The cause is “not for the faint of heart,” he said.

There is little question that most leftists are quite stout of heart, veritable models of patience and dedication who live by the motto “try, try again.” The laws of economics are nothing in the face of their drive, and they see this merely as a temporary setback.

How can a thinking person make a statement like this one, and believe it? (That is, assuming the person actually does believe it, which may or may not be the case):

Oregon considered adding a public option — not the same as single-payer, but with similar challenges — to its Obamacare exchange in 2010, but ultimately decided the startup costs were too high, even if savings were forecast down the road.

“People have to ultimately understand that it’s going to cost them less even though their taxes go up,” McGuire said.

According to McGuire and those who argue similarly, the initial increase in cost will be reflected in taxes, but “ultimately” there will be savings. Based on what? Projections of folks like Jonathan Gruber? And what will the other costs of those “savings” be (in the unlikely event the savings ever do materialize), in terms of decreased choice and a decline in the quality of care for the majority of people?

What’s that they say about a free lunch?

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]