Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- The Affordable Care Act promises access to coverage for millions of Americans who have been skipping doctor's visits due to the inability to pay.
But some health care professionals worry that may also lead to a shortage of health care workers able to care for those people.
The roll out of the health care changesare already impacting uninsured Americans, But forJustin Chavis, a senior at the University of South Carolina and senior of the school's College of Nursing, it's the expanded role forecasted for medical professionals he's looking forward to.
"I have no doubt that nurses will play a highly important role in the future of where this act will go," Chavis said.
As the number of those getting insurance increases, the number of health care workers increases needed increases as well.
"We expect over 800,000 South Carolina residents to have access to primary care," said Dr. Jeanette Andrews, Dean and professor at USC's College of Nursing.
Dean saidthatcreates a need for more jobs.
"We see a lot of opportunity for nurses to really seize the openings and the avenues with the Affordable Care Act and the delivery of health care in the future," Andrews said.
Dr. Peter Buerhaus is a nurse and a healthcare economist at Vanderbilt University and Chair of the National Health Care Workforce Commission, which was created under the Affordable Care Act. Buerhaus said there are also concerns as to whether the nursing field will grow too fast as a result of the health care law.
Another factor contributing to that feeling, Buerhaus said, is the mere newness of the law.
"Employers in many parts of the country are reluctant to hire as they are waiting to see how health reform will develop," he said.
That may be another reason for Chavis to look forward.
"What I do in the beginning parts of the initial actions of the Affordable Care Act will shape the future of where we go from there," Chavis said.