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Parliament's Finance and Budget Committee made progress Monday on securing funding for a universal health care insurance coverage law that would solve "80 percent" of the health sector's issues, caretaker Health Minister Ghassan Hasbani said.The bill is one of three major health care draft laws front-and-center in discussions held by major parliamentary committees this week, including draft laws set to be discussed Wednesday in Parliament's Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Committee that would secure $150 million in loans from the World Bank and the Islamic Development Fund, chiefly to develop primary health care.Hasbani explained that the loans set to be discussed Wednesday – $120 million in soft loans to be repaid over 20 years to the World Bank and a $30 million grant from the Islamic Development Fund – would be used to develop primary health care provision at a much cheaper cost than the Lebanese state would be able to do on its own.Parliament's joint committees are also set to discuss up to five laws Thursday, including a law on judicial independence and several laws related to the regulation of economic sectors, including construction.Jaber said it was likely that a $200 million concessional loan from the World Bank for road infrastructure development would also be discussed and potentially approved by the Finance and Budget Committee early next week, given the importance of it being ratified in any upcoming general assembly of Parliament.
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