“Insurers got lots of new business,” she said. “All plans picked up membership through the reform plan—and as a group, they are winners.” And the losers? They include the 100,000 or so residents who can afford coverage, Turnbull explained, but opt for the tax penalty. They also include the 85,000 people exempt from penalties because of religious beliefs, or who cannot afford what the state says is an affordable policy. They remain uninsured. Turnbull added some community health centers to her loser list, as well as people penalized by what she called the law’s inequities—for example, people who can’t get subsidized insurance if their employers offer coverage.

Turnbull’s assessment provides a different kind of roadmap—one that shows journalists where the good stories lurk.

Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.