McKinsey report unravels; will GOP care?

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.”

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.