Political Animal


June 23, 2011 11:30 AM McKinsey report unravels; will GOP care?

By Steve Benen

By this point, McKinsey & Company hopefully sees its latest report on health care policy to be an awful, embarrassing mistake. The firm published a controversial study recently, purporting to show that nearly a third of American businesses will stop offering health coverage to their employees as a result of the Affordable Care Act, and has faced nothing but trouble since releasing the dubious data.

This week, McKinsey pushed an unpersuasive spin to justify its misguided report, but just as importantly, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the methodology — which the company went to great lengths to hide — has rendered the results largely useless.

“There is no doubt that the answers one would get after priming respondents the way they did would be expected to include more expressed interest in the possibility of not insuring employees than a question asked in a nonprimed context,” said Floyd Fowler, a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Survey Research at University of Massachusetts, Boston, and author of the book Survey Research Methods.

McKinsey’s study concluded that employers are fairly likely to rescind insurance benefits after the health care law takes full effect in 2014. The firm claims to stand by the result, though it now admits the results of the survey aren’t predictive. However, the results were based on some curious questions … designed to lead survey-takers to conclusions at odds with the majority of expert analysis.

The next question is whether reality or any of these pesky facts will get in the way of Republican rhetoric.

GOP officials began touting the bogus McKinsey results last week, and continue to cite the report in Republican arguments this week. Will they change their tune now that the study has been largely discredited?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess, “No, they won’t give a damn.”

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


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  • DAY on June 23, 2011 11:38 AM:

    Fugeddabout what's IN the report- i want to know the WHO and the WHY.

    (I can guess about the "why", that just leaves the WHO- I doubt that it was an internal decision to do the survey.

  • kevo on June 23, 2011 11:39 AM:

    The dog and pony show, the current GOP political strategy where shiny (irrelevance and misinformation) objects take up all the oxygen and attention of the media, will continue unabated! -Kevo

  • Holmes on June 23, 2011 11:40 AM:

    I'd bet the farm that the misleading poll was designed to give Republicans "evidence" supporting their bogus assertions.

  • c u n d gulag on June 23, 2011 11:42 AM:

    The Republicans will continue to site this until the end of time because, by tomorrow, our amnesiac MSM will have forgotten all about it.

    And, when Republicans site it in the future, the Chuck Todds will go, "Yeah, I REMEMBER something about that, so they're right!"

    This BS happens every day.

    It' no longer - ZOINKS!!!
    IT's SSDD...

  • RepublicanPointOfView on June 23, 2011 11:48 AM:

    We are not going to let facts get in the way of a good talking point!

  • terraformer on June 23, 2011 12:37 PM:

    While we know the answer to the question, the more pressing question is whether the media will report this.

    I think we know the answer.

  • Neil B on June 23, 2011 1:07 PM:

    This is one of the best put-downs of McKinsey, saying they basically did it to generate business:
    a href="http://blogs.forbes.com/rickungar/2011/06/18/mckinseys-anti-obamacare-study-msits-just-business/">Rick Ungar.
    What utter frauds.

  • Neil B on June 23, 2011 1:15 PM:

    OK, again:
    This is one of the best put-downs of McKinsey, saying they basically did it to generate business:
    Rick Ungar.
    What utter frauds.

  • Zorro on June 23, 2011 1:55 PM:

    The next question is whether reality or any of these pesky facts will get in the way of Republican rhetoric.

    Does it ever?


  • chopin on June 23, 2011 4:50 PM:

    MCKINSEY'D. To publish a bogus report with the intent to provide sheeple what they want to hear regardless the facts.