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Research company soft pedals prediction of less employer coverage


By Rich Daly
Posted: June 20, 2011 - 7:45 pm ET
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The company that authored a study which suggested up to 30% of employers would drop insurance for their workers because of the federal healthcare overhaul released some details demanded by Democrats and hedged on the predictive value of the research.

“The survey was not intended as a predictive economic analysis of the impact of the Affordable Care Act,” said a statement on the website of McKinsey & Co. about a survey of 1,329 private sector employers on views about the 2010 healthcare law. “Rather, it captured the attitudes of employers and provided an understanding of the factors that could influence decision making related to employee health benefits.”

The company said that its results, which have drawn attacks from the Obama administration and congressional Democrats, found significantly higher rates of employers planning to drop coverage than other studies have found because it was survey-based and not based on economic modeling.

The response from McKinsey explained that “factual information on the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act” was provided to survey respondents but that “no information was offered on whether a particular provision or particular action would benefit or have an adverse impact on the employer or the employee.”

McKinsey stated that it alone funded the survey as part of its routine, proprietary research.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and a critic of the McKinsey findings, remained highly critical of the company's response.

“This report is filled with cherry-picked facts and slanted questions–it did not provide employers with enough information for them to make honest choices and fair evaluations,” Baucus said in a written statement. “Rather than correct the major deficiencies in their report, McKinsey has chosen to again stand by their faulty analysis and misguided conclusions.”

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