Fox News is falsely claiming that McKinsey & Co. has released a new survey this week estimating that a large number of employers will drop health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. However, in an email to Media Matters, McKinsey stated that it has not released any new research on the topic in months.
It all started on October 27, when Republicans on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, led by House Republican Darrell Issa, issued a report critical of health care reform. The report cited research that McKinsey had released in June that stoked fears that “more than 30 percent of employers overall, and 28 percent of large ones, say they will definitely or probably drop coverage after 2014.”
On Wednesday, just days after Issa's report cited McKinsey's June research, America's Newsroom co-host Bill Hemmer claimed that McKinsey itself was responsible for “a survey out this week.” On Monday, Happening Now co-host Jenna Lee claimed that “a new survey conducted by an independent research firm finds that 30 percent of employers will definitely or probably stop offering company-sponsored health coverage once the new health-care law kicks in.” Lee did not make clear what “new survey” was the source of her claim.
When Media Matters contacted McKinsey & Company to obtain a copy of the new survey, the organization told Media Matters via email that it has not released one on this topic since June. From the email:
We did not release any other survey on this topic. The Fox News piece is based on the survey that was conducted in February of this year and published in June. All the information about that survey is available on our website: http://www.mckinsey.com/en/Features/US_employer_healthcare_survey.aspx.
In June, Fox had aggressively promoted the McKinsey survey to warn that 30 percent of employers would drop health coverage once the Affordable Care Act was implemented, forcing 78 million Americans out of their current health insurance. Fox trumpeted the survey results as “blockbuster” research that undermined efforts to reform the health care system.
Those claims fell apart after McKinsey was forced to acknowledge that the survey was not intended to be a predictive economic analysis.
This is not the first time Fox News has served as a mouthpiece for GOP research.
Back in 2009, Happening Now passed off a Senate Republican Communications Center press release as its own research -- typo and all. More recently, Happening Now reported: “Today, the headline is this ... government spending as a share of our economy will increase by nearly 70 percent by 2035.” Earlier that day, House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan had issued a press release stating that “government spending as a share of the economy will increase by nearly 70 percent between now and 2035.” In another instance, Fox & Friends recited a misleading House GOP press release to distort President Obama's estimate of the stimulus' job impacts.
During the health care debate, Fox figures repeatedly used the GOP's “ram it through” language to attack health care reform. They adopted the GOP's choice phrase, “Obamacare,” to describe health care reform.
More recently, in August, Fox & Friends used talking points similar to a Republican National Committee document released a day before to bash Obama for “pivoting” to jobs. In September, Fox News waged a week-long war against government regulations in a series called “Regulation Nation,” which echoed the name of a House Republican website that has existed since at least June. Fox also parroted a GOP attack on Justice Department investigators who were looking into the failed Fast and Furious program.
And just last month, Fox's “report card” on Obama's first 1,000 days was a copycat of an RNC document -- but Fox host Megyn Kelly tried passing it off as “Fox Facts” from Fox's “brain room.”