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Doctors See Higher Patient Loads Under Affordable Care Act

Alex E. Proimos via Flickr

A new analysis of insurance enrollment under the Affordable Care Act shows New Mexico has one of the highest rates of newly-insured people in the country. That’s good news for the residents here who now have access to health care, but the higher number of new patients is posing some challenges to doctors in the state.


New Mexico has seen a drastic reduction in uninsured residents since last year. Data shows the rate of people covered by health insurance has more than doubled in many counties.

Jerry Harrison is director of New Mexico Health Resources. That organization recruits healthcare professionals to work in this state. Harrison says more insured people means more patients for New Mexico doctors.

“They’re being asked to see more patients per day, wait times to get appointments are stretching out somewhat. Organizations are asking us to find more primary care physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants than we have in the past.”

According to the New York Times, New Mexico and parts of the Southern and Western US saw the biggest gains in newly insured people. Lower income people, minorities and those living in rural areas have signed up for new policies at the highest rate. 

Ed Williams came to KUNM in 2014 by way of Carbondale, Colorado, where he worked as a public radio reporter covering environmental issues. Originally from Austin, Texas, Ed has reported on environmental, social justice, immigration and Native American issues in the U.S. and Latin America for the Austin American-Statesman, Z Magazine, NPR’s Latino USA and others. In his spare time, look for Ed riding his mountain bike in the Sandias or sparring on the jiu-jitsu mat.
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