Tonight, the first of seven debates between former Congressman Rick Hill and Steve Bullock was held in Helena. Lot’s of interesting fodder for discussion.
Before we get to the meat of the matter, it’s worth noting that Libertarian candidate Ron Vandevender was not even allowed to participate in the debate, which was hosted by the Helena IR. It makes one wonder why Hill is so afraid of sharing the stage with a fellow conservative.
As anyone with a Twitter account is already aware, there was much discussion tonight of Hill’s decision to leave his lectern and wander all around the stage. Word on the street is there was a bit of a kerfuffle before the debate between Hill, his campaign manager and the editor of the IR. The campaign was rumored to be upset that Hill’s lectern might have been “taller” than Bullock’s, which could explain the aimless maundering.
Anyway, the bigger news of the night is Hill’s blatant refusal give a simple answer to how much money he made chairing and serving on various insurance industry boards. Under Hill’s tenure, these boards raised rates as much as 36 percent on Montana families.
It’s public information that Congressman Hill made hundreds of thousands serving on the Board of Directers of Blue Cross Blue Shield. Not because the part-time Californian provided the info, but because the company is required by law to disclose such things to retain its “non-profit” status. However, Hill won’t say what he was paid as a board member of and consultant to Blue Cross’s lucrative for-profit subsidiary insurance companies. These for-profit subsidiaries, including Western States Insurance, HealthEWeb, and others, aren’t required to disclose their executive compensation packages–even though they are wholly owned subsidiaries of the “non-profit” Blue Cross.
This screenshot for the website of Blue Cross’s Health-e-Web Inc. lists Hill as a board member. The other subsidiaries don’t even list their board members online, little alone how much their big-wigs make to sit around munching paninis and reading glossy memos. Probably, he made big bucks. Blue Cross just sold Western States Insurance to an out-of-state company. The new company is worth $90 million.
Back in February when Hill was asked on the Aaron Flint show whether he would disclose this information, he said:
“We will release that to the media, I will have all of that gathered together. I haven’t finished my tax returns, yet. Over the next few weeks, you know, we will provide that information to the public. The public is entitled to know about it.”
Apparently not. When Steve Bullock asked Hill to disclose how much his income went up during the rate hikes, Hill refused. Instead, Hill tried to escape the question by claiming to have disclosed what was already public information anyway–the Blue Cross cash. He refused to mention the more gainful for-profit subsidiary companies.
Pasted below the fold is a transcript of Hill refusing to disclose the info tonight’s debate–and a transcript of Hill claiming on Flint’s show to be willing to disclose the facts before he was against it.
Please consider this post an open forum to discuss the debate.