Jackson bill to bring more doctors to rural Maine becomes law
AUGUSTA — A bill from Senate Democratic Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash that will bring more health care professionals into rural and medically underserved parts of the state became law without the governor’s signature earlier this week.
The new law will expand upon existing programs to recruit and retain more primary health care providers and dentists in underserved parts of the state, which includes Aroostook County.
“No matter where you live in Maine, you should be able to go to the doctor,” said Sen. Jackson. “This program has already made great strides in making sure more Maine children and families in the rural parts of our state can get dental care. By expanding the program to include primary health care professionals, more Mainers will be able to see a doctor when they are sick or injured and receive annual check-ups to stay healthy and working.”
An existing income tax credit for eligible dentists who practice in underserved areas is set to expire in 2020. Jackson’s bill would extend the credit until 2026. The new law will also provide the credit to more primary care professionals, such as physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants who practice in underserved areas. The credit will go to 10 providers in rural and underserved communities throughout the state, rather than the five allowed under the previous law.
The bill will take effect 90 days following the end of the special legislative session. The Legislature is set to return Monday, July 9 to consider the governor’s vetoes and any outstanding legislative business.