Chicago NMG member Johnson wins AP Best of the States

Carla Johnson

Carla Johnson

NMG member Carla Johnson, a Chicago-based medical writer, is a co-winner of this week’s AP Best of the States award.

Johnson has consistently been ahead of the pack on news and trend stories on the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

She helped produce a widely used, two-part series that detailed the sticker shock many previously uninsured people were facing. That’s because many didn’t realize that despite low monthly premiums, they might have to pay thousands of dollars for deductibles standard with most health insurance policies.

Johnson also made it easy for AP members to localize their own stories on the topic, with two databases and other AP-provided material.

One database Johnson made used census data to show the uninsured _ and potential demand for new policies under the ACA _ by county across Illinois. Then she got a health-care consultant to build a database listing premiums and deductibles available by county under the overhaul.

More than a dozen member papers participated, calling the collaboration the type of project that’s among the most important things AP can do for them. Johnson now is working on a national version of the project.