I’m writing to bring attention to a bill introduced in the Maine Legislature, L.D. 1797, An Act to Expand Maine’s Health Care Workforce by Expanding Educational Opportunities and Providing Tax Credits. The bill proposes ongoing funding to the Doctors for Maine’s Future Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to medical students at the University of New England and Tufts University’s Maine Track medical school program.

As a Tufts Maine Track alumnus, I recognize the significant benefit of the scholarship program. But I would argue that the bill could do more to support medical education for Maine students. Currently, the bill only supports scholarships to half of the graduating class of Maine Track students on a merit basis.

Notably, Maine lacks a public medical school or reciprocal agreement with other states to provide in-state tuition to medical school. In this respect, Maine lags behind other states. Currently, students in 45 states may qualify for in-state tuition to medical school. On average, public medical school graduates owe $15,000 less than private medical school graduates. Expanding medical educational opportunities would be a boon to the state.

While a logical step would be to start a public medical school in Maine, this would be significantly time- and resource-intensive. In the near term, it would directly benefit students from Maine to not only extend, but expand funding for the Doctors for Maine’s Future Scholarship Fund.

Carson Brown

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