Greg Sargent: Yet another interesting turn in the case of the mystery health care study … the consulting firm McKinsey and Company recently released a study that – unlike other studies – found that larger numbers of employers plan to drop insurance for workers because of the Affordable Care Act. Despite multiple requests from the White House, Congressional Dems, and news outlets, the company is refusing to release key details about the study’s methodology that would enable us to evaluate its integrity.
…Ironically, the author of an Urban Institute study used by the White House to refute the McKinsey report is none other than McKinsey’s own Bowen Garrett, the chief economist at their Center for U.S. Health System Reform. In his Urban Institute paper, Garrett dismantles “claims that the ACA would cause major declines in [employer-sponsored health insurance],” calling them, “greatly exaggerated.”
Wait, you mean McKinsey published a study claiming 30% of employers will drop employee coverage, in direct contradiction to the expressed position of one of their head health honchos?
Update from Greg Sargent: Wow. Dems are very quickly ratcheting up the pressure on McKinsey and Company – meaning it’s likely that we’ll see an increase in media scrutiny of the company’s continuing refusal to cough up the methodology of its now-controversial study on the Affordable Care Act.
In a very big development, Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus has written a detailed letter spelling out 13 very specific questions about how the study’s methodology was conducted …
I’m also told that three – count ‘em, three – House committees will send a letter today to McKinsey making the same request.
…This constitutes real pressure, and underscores how high the stakes have become for Democrats, now that Republicans have been regularly citing the study as a weapon against the health law.
Earlier this week McKinsey & Company released the results of their study that claimed 30 per cent of employers are planning to stop giving health insurance to their workers as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
Almost all of the mainstream media unquestioningly reported McKinsey & Company’s findings and framed them as a major blow to President Obama’s healthcare reform.
A few – and only a few – voices in the media, though, were curious about the study, not least because it completely contradicted the findings of surveys by three independent organizations – The Rand Corporation, The Urban Institute and Mercer (see here)
Steve Benen: …How was the study conducted? What were the questions? How were the employers chosen? What were the statistical breakdowns among businesses of different sizes? Who funded the study? We don’t know and McKinsey hasn’t said.
Kate Pickert (Time) noticed a small tidbit in the report: McKinsey acknowledged having “educated” those participating in the survey. And what, pray tell, did the company say to respondents that might have affected the results? You guessed it: we don’t know and McKinsey hasn’t said.
Politico added that it “asked really nicely” to at least see the questionnaire McKinsey used to conduct the employers survey, but the company refused. Raise your hand if you think the McKinsey & Company report has some credibility problems.
Greg Sargent: …as a number of critics were quick to point out, McKinsey’s finding is at odds with many other studies – and the company did not release key portions of the study’s methodology, making it impossible to evaluate the study’s validity.
There’s now been a new twist in this story.
I’m told that the White House, as well as top Democrats on key House and Senate committees, have privately contacted McKinsey to ask for details on the study’s methodology. According to an Obama administration official and a source on the House Ways and Means Committee, the company refused.
Now the White House and top Congressional Democrats are asking the company to release the baseline information we need to evaluate the study’s credibility and integrity. So this story could now get a good deal more interesting.
TPM: …multiple sources both within and outside McKinsey tell TPM the survey was not conducted using McKinsey’s typical, meticulous methodology.
“This particular survey wasn’t designed in a way that would allow it to be peer review published or cited academically,” said one source familiar with the controversy …. All sources were granted anonymity, in order to be able to speak candidly about the controversy.
Reached for comment today, a McKinsey spokesperson once again declined to release the survey materials, or to comment beyond saying that, for the moment, McKinsey will let the study speak for itself….
Another keyed-in source says McKinsey is unlikely to release the survey materials because “it would be damaging to them”.
Both sources disagree with the results of the survey, which was devised by consultants without particular expertise in this area, not by the firm’s health experts.
…Republicans, and reform opponents, seized on the report’s conclusions to sow further suspicion of the law…..