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Jackson bill to expand health care to medically underserved areas becomes law

AUGUSTA, Maine — Senate Minority Leader Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, has successfully pushed a bill through the Legislature to bring more health care professionals into rural and medically underserved parts of the state.

The bill became law without the governor’s signature earlier this week.

Jackson said that the new law will expand on existing programs to recruit and retain more primary health care providers and dentists in underserved parts of the state, including Aroostook County.

An existing income tax credit for eligible dentists who practice in underserved areas is set to expire in 2020, and Jackson’s measure will extend it until 2026.

The new law also will 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.

“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,” said Jackson “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.”

The law takes effect 90 days following the end of the special legislative session.

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