McKinsey stands by employer health insurance survey

CHICAGO Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:29am EDT

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - Consultant McKinsey & Co on Monday defended the methodology behind its survey gauging employers' views on providing health insurance to workers, a report that drew criticism from U.S. health reform supporters.

The survey found 30 percent of respondents whose companies offered health insurance said they would "definitely" or "probably" drop coverage in the years following 2014, when the Affordable Care Act takes effect.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, a Democrat, last week sent a letter to McKinsey calling on the company to release the methodology behind the survey, published earlier this month.

McKinsey, in a posting on its website, said the opinion survey of U.S. private sector employers was designed to measure their attitudes about healthcare reform and was not intended to be a predictive economic analysis of the impact of the Affordable Care Act.

"We stand by the integrity and methodology of the survey," McKinsey said.

Baucus said the survey results differed sharply from other research on the impact of health reform on employer-sponsored health insurance.

McKinsey said its survey results, published in a McKinsey Quarterly article, should not be compared to healthcare research and analysis conducted by others such as the Congressional Budget Office, Rand and the Urban Institute that use economic modeling and take a different focus.

"Comparing the McKinsey survey to economic estimates, such as the CBO's, is comparing apples to oranges," McKinsey said. "We understand how the language in the article could lead the reader to think the research was a prediction, but it is not."

Baucus on Monday blasted McKinsey's explanation in a press statement, saying the company was attempting to back away from data it previously characterized as valid predictions.

McKinsey said it alone funded the research, which was based on a questionnaire it developed. The consultant said it commissioned Ipsos, a market and opinion research company, to administer the online survey to respondents selected by Ipsos.

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