“Solyndra” was a frequent topic of conversation during a congressional hearing last week on consumer operated and oriented plans—or co-ops—that have received $2 billion in loans through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
A report by Republican staffers (PDF) scrutinizing the funding for the not-for-profit insurance plans described it as “eerily similar” to a government loan program that bankrolled the failed solar energy company.
“This is no Solyndra,” declared Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) at the outset of the hearing before the House Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care & Entitlements.
“The reference to Solyndra … is very appropriate,” countered Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).
As those comments suggest, the hearing was more about politics than reasoned analysis. The co-op program has aroused partisan squabbling since its inception. Funding for it was included in the federal healthcare reform law in part as a sop to Democrats upset that a public option wasn't part of the bill. Republicans have pounced on the program as an ideologically driven boondoggle.