S.B. 648 has been introduced by Sen. John Moolenaar (R-MI) and is tie-barred with S.B. 649, which was introduced by Sen. Jim Marleau (R-MI). Each bill has twelve co-sponsors. S.B. 648 would expand the Michigan Essential Health Provider program to include loan repayment for dentists who chose to work in health resource shortage areas. The bill also would remove the four-year maximum on loan repayments and increase the annual maximum from $25,000 to $40,000 (without an annual increase of up to 5% after the first year). Additionally, the bill would establish a lifetime maximum of $200,000, payable over a period of four years or more.
S.B. 649 would expand a grant program for low-income minority students to include dental students. The bill also would require an assessment of the lifetime loan repayment maximum (proposed by S.B. 648) for those covered by the Michigan Essential Health Provider loan repayment program. The assessment would determine whether the cap was sufficient to facilitate the placement and retention of professionals in underserved areas and whether the maximum amount should be adjusted to reflect changes in tuition costs.
Both bills have been reported favorably out of committee with substitute, and are recommended for immediate effect.