‘the case of the mystery study’

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.

Full post here


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.

Full post here


Paul Krugman: One has to assume that there was something terribly wrong with the study. At any rate, nobody should be citing it until or unless McKinsey comes clean.

Full post here


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…..

Full post here


You can read about McKinsey & Company’s record here

16 Responses to “‘the case of the mystery study’”

  1. June 10, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    Politico has a story up that weiner admits contact with 17 Year old! Wow!

    • 2 bjw2
      June 10, 2011 at 10:20 pm

      Rachel Maddow did a story citing that sources close to the family said that there were no inappropriate contact b/w the 17 year old and wiener and if there were the parents said they would have filed charges.

      The 17 year old had followed Wiener ever since she took a trip to Washington and heard him speak…sources close to the family say that there were communication but none were indecent.

      This story originated on a Fox station and the media is picking it up and running with it.

  2. June 10, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    Here I some more news for ya:


    The president nominates gruenberg for FDIC post!

  3. June 10, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    Thanks so much, Chipsticks. Stories like this is one of the reasons I come here. I probably would not have known. Many thanks for keeping us informed!

  4. 5 StR
    June 10, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    If 1300 businesses were contacted, couldn’t one of them who was polled come forward and shed light on the polling questions, “education”, etc? This certainly sounds to me that this shady outfit was paid specifically to put out a bad report so the RW noise machine could run with it.

  5. 6 africa
    June 10, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    It appears that there is a fish rotting at McKinsey. I hope more pressure is brought to bear. They are balking at sharing more info on the methodology, Strange. Don’t most studies usually include the methodology used? It would be interesting to know who commissioned the study. Was it peer reviewed?

  6. 12 HZ
    June 11, 2011 at 5:00 am

    On the wstt coast, and can’t sleep, so I decided to listen to some music and then come to my family here. We will think good thoughts, but we also know that the RW and media which they feed will constantly put out these stories for any price. They are just beginning, but you know what my dear and alert family members here, we are on to them. We will be working hard to defeat them. I just picked up the People magazine where there is a featured article with POTUS and it is nice. I had read a little online, but there is one photo taken by Pete, of course with Malia and dad talking while at the swing on the WH grounds. It is very serious looking, but so deep into whatever they are talking about. You can see so much love and concern in this photo. Good read also. Of course, we knew this about our President. If any of you subscribe to Ebony there is an interesting write-up about FLOTUS. pg. 44. Lovely.

    • 13 HZ
      June 11, 2011 at 5:03 am

      Sorry, that should be west coast. It is a dark scheen, so I can’t see what I am writing until it comes up as a post. I am sorry.

  7. 14 Betsey
    June 11, 2011 at 7:27 am

    OMG, it never stops! Great post, Chipsticks. Thanks for your hard work. This is the kind of information that is so helpful to us, gathered together like this.

  8. 15 Anonymous
    June 11, 2011 at 7:55 am


    Anyone can produce a study that matches their predetermined assumptions and agenda – and then refuse to provide details on how the study was conducted. This McKinsey study lacks credibility and stands out like a sore thumb from others that have reported the opposite findings.

    It is so great to see things heating up with this very suspicious study. I hope the push back continues to build. The obvious question is which came first – the conclusions or the study. Was this just an attempt to foster a meme challenging the benefits of ACA for partisan political gain? If McKinsey continues to refuse to explain their sources and methodology for this study, it should be discounted and ridiculed.

    For the lazy media stenographers, the only good news about President Obama is bad news. This sentence from the post says it all:


    It’s not surprising that Jake (with the permanent snarl) Tapper was the reporter who asked the question about the McKinsey study. I love it when Jay Carney sets him straight.


    Q I have two questions for you. First of all, this study by McKinsey & Company noting that the health care requirements that take effect in 2014 will “increase medical costs for many companies.” And in their survey of 1,300 employers, they note that a significant percentage will definitely or probably drop coverage or pursue alternatives to employer-based insurance. And I’m wondering what the White House response is.

    MR. CARNEY: Sure. We saw that report. And I can simply say that that report is pretty starkly at odds with the experts from the Congressional Budget Office, the RAND Corporation, the Urban Institute. And it is also starkly at odds with history. History has shown that reform motivates more businesses to offer insurance. Health insurance in Massachusetts, for example, uses a similar structure as the Affordable Care Act, with an exchange, a personal responsibility requirement, and an employer responsibility requirement.

    And a number of individuals with employer-sponsored insurance in Massachusetts has increased. We are confident the Affordable Care Act will strengthen our existing system, employer-based system, going forward. So we simply just disagree with those conclusions.

    • 16 hopefruit2
      June 11, 2011 at 9:18 am

      Thank you Anonymous for bringing to light this exchange between Carney and Tapper. I’m glad that Carney was able to shut that tool the hell up. Facts are what will win PBO the 2012 elections – I am very confident of that. People like entertainment but when it comes to putting food on the table, paying bills and taking care of their loved ones, they want FACTS.

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