Yet another interesting turn in the case of the mystery health care study.
As you know, the consulting firm McKinsey and Company recently released a study that — unlike other studies — found that larger numbers of employers plan to drop insurance for workers because of the Affordable Care Act. Despite multiple requests from the White House, Congressional Dems, and news outlets, the company is refusing to release key details about the study’s methodology that would enable us to evaluate its integrity.
There’s even talk that some at McKinsey don’t think the study is a good predictive model.
Now there’s been another wrinkle along these lines.
The White House has pointed to various studies finding the opposite of what McKinsey’s study found in order to make the case that it’s an outlier that should not be taken seriously. But Sam Wainwright ferrets out a gem: It turns out that one of those studies was written by someone who is now a chief analyst of health reform at ... McKinsey:
Ironically, the author of an Urban Institute study used by the White House to refute the McKinsey report is none other than McKinsey’s own Bowen Garrett, the chief economist at their Center for U.S. Health System Reform. In his Urban Institute paper, Garrett dismantles “claims that the ACA would cause major declines in [employer-sponsored health insurance],” calling them, “greatly exaggerated.”
Wait, you mean McKinsey published a study claiming 30% of employers will drop employee coverage, in direct contradiction to the expressed position of one of their head health honchos?
Sources at both the Urban Institute and McKinsey confirm to me that he is indeed the same fellow. The Urban Institute study written by Bowen Garrett concluded:
Some have argued that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would erode employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) by providing incentives for employers to stop offering coverage. Others have claimed that most businesses would face increased costs as a result of reform. A new study finds that overall ESI coverage under the ACA would not differ significantly from what coverage would be without reform.
A spokesperson for McKinsey declined to comment. But one company source disputed the significance of this, claiming: “We are not making a point prediction or forecast about employer behavior after the implementation of health reform, and the survey is one indicator of the employers’ view on potential future actions. The survey results are just that: they reveal what respondents say they think will do at a point in the future, they are not a prediction of what they will do. ”
For all we know, maybe Garrett would endorse the current McKinsey study’s findings. Someone should ask him.