Blue Cross Blue Shield
The Hiller Instinct: Blue Cross Blue Shield
Begin with Bob Haynes, the president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO.
When it was reported he was paid nearly $73,000 a year to be on the Blue Cross Blue Shield board of directors, he defended the deal, saying: "The cost of health insurance is not affected very much...it's like pennies a year on the premium."
"I'd like to know how many of Bob Hayne's membership makes $73,000 a year," Boston Mayor Tom Menino said.
The mayor sees what virtually everyone does, except Haynes and the governor.
"Paying members who are on the board of a non-profit that price is exorbitant," Menino said.
The governor is out of the country, so we can't ask him - again - about it.
But here's what he said the last time we could, last Friday: Hiller asked, "Do you think the board members should be paid?"
Patrick said, "It doesn't matter what I think. I'm not going to get into managing individual companies or individual compensation."
Stop the tape. That's just not true! Patrick jumped right into it when Hyatt Hotels laid off housekeepers here in 2009: "If this decision is not reversed, I am not personally going to any events at a Hyatt Hotel," the governor said back then.
But, now, the governor has no opinion about the Blue Cross Blue Shield board payments, or the $11 million golden parachute it's former CEO, Cleve Killingsworth, received.
"What I am concerned about," Patrick said, "and what I want my focus, and what I would ask the public's focus to be on--is the premiums paid by the public and the companies--all of them have got to be accountable for that."
Hiller asked, "But wouldn't you agree that in this case the millions of dollars that went to an executive and all of the money that is going to board members is money that is coming from premiums and money that is not going to health care?"
Patrick said, "Andy, you want to really keep going back and forth on this. I'm not going to, all right."
Hypocrisy is like pornography: it's tough to define, but you'll know it when you see it, or, in this case, hear it.
The governor and the union president have been exposed - they are the blues brothers.
I'm Andy Hiller, and that's my instinct.