McKinsey Study That Claimed Employers Would Drop Health Insurance: “Not Predictive”

I guess that is sort of like Republican Senator Kyle, whose lies about Planned Parenthood were walked back by his staff’s statement that the Senator’s remarks on the floor of the Senate into the record were not intended ‘as a factual statement’.

The Washington Post reports the walk back by McKinsey, the firm that had published the study. They point out that the study was immediately used by the Republicans to attack the health care reforms passed last year. This was by followed intense pressure from Democrats that they reveal the methodology of their study. Well, it turns out that the totally unsupported claim that in a few years employers was “not intended to be predictive”.

Of course that what the Republicans, including especially House Speaker Boehner, sure tried to use the study to claim in their continuing attacks on the health care act.

Here is McKinsey’s “defense” of the study.

We stand by the integrity and methodology of the survey.

The survey was not intended as a predictive economic analysis of the impact of the Affordable Care Act. Rather, it captured the attitudes of employers and provided an understanding of the factors that could influence decision making related to employee health benefits.

As such, our survey results are not comparable to the healthcare research and analysis conducted by others such as the Congressional Budget Office, RAND and the Urban Institute. Each of those studies employed economic modeling, not opinion surveys, and focused on the impact of healthcare reform on individuals, not employer attitudes.

Comparing the McKinsey survey to economic estimates, such as the CBO’s, is comparing apples to oranges. While the McKinsey Quarterly article about the survey cited CBO estimates, any comparison is not apt. We understand how the language in the article could lead the reader to think the research was a prediction, but it is not.

McKinsey releases methodology; firm concedes study not predictive

As the Washington Post notes in a somewhat sarcastic update to the original story. Emphasis is from the Washington Post article.

UPDATE: As Jamison Foser points out, people might have thought the study was intended to be predictive because its initial headline was:

How US health care reform will affect employee benefits


Author: Ron