President Barack Obama, soon to be former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, former Congressman Barney Frank, and many other prominent Democrats and leftists have over the past several years declared that their ultimate goal is turn the U.S. healthcare system into a "single-payer," i.e., completely government-controlled, enterprise.

That likely explains why the reaction to Vermont's abandonment of its attempt to set up single-payer has been quite muted in the establishment press, as many of its members have ardently supported the idea for decades.



In mid-November, Americans for Tax Reform compiled a list of federal spending on state Obamacare exchanges totaling a breathtaking $4.5 billion.

One number on the list stands out from the rest — and it's not California's, though its $910 million amout is awful, disproportionate, and surely highly wasteful (before considering scalability concerns, the fixed costs of building a web site should be close to the same regardless of a state's population). The big eye-catcher is tiny Vermont's staggering $208 million. The nation's second-least populous state (626,000 as of 2012) has 0.2 percent of the U.S. population, but has received 4.6 percent of grants from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Though the Green Mountain State's enrollment numbers have been among the country's least embarrassing on percentage of the population, its exchange's rollout has in many ways been as bad, if not worse, than HealthCare.gov's, according to a December 10 Vermont Public Radio report which has garnered very little attention (HT Megan McArdle at Bloomberg News; bolds are mine):