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Morning Market Roundup: 'Obamacare' Balloons Deficit, Buffett Rule in FL, New Mortgage Rules

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Here’s what’s important in the financial world this morning:

Obamacare’: Reigniting a debate about the bottom line for President Barack Obama's health care law, a leading conservative economist estimates in a study to be released Tuesday that the overhaul will add at least $340 billion to the deficit, not reduce it.

Charles Blahous, who serves as public trustee overseeing Medicare and Social Security finances, also suggested that federal accounting practices have obscured the true fiscal impact of the legislation, the fate of which is now in the hands of the Supreme Court.

In his 52-page analysis released by George Mason University's Mercatus Center, Blahous said, "Taken as a whole, the enactment of the (health care law) has substantially worsened a dire federal fiscal outlook."

"The (law) both increases a federal commitment to health care spending that was already unsustainable under prior law and would exacerbate projected federal deficits relative to prior law," Blahous said.

The White house dismissed the study in a statement late Monday. Presidential assistant Jeanne Lambrew called the study "new math (that) fits the old pattern of mischaracterizations" about the health care law.

Mortgage Rules: The federal government plans to propose new rules on Tuesday that will give homeowners more ways to avoid foreclosure and get an accurate accounting of their monthly mortgage payments.

Congress mandated changes in the rules covering the mortgage servicing industry in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's proposed rules would require mortgage servicers to give all borrowers standardized monthly statements and warn borrowers about interest rate or insurance change.

Iran & Oil: Iran can manage its economy even without crude exports, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed on Tuesday as Tehran cut off oil sales to Greece, the third European nation to be hit by an Iranian retaliatory measure ahead of EU's oil embargo.

Iran had warned in February that it may extend an earlier embargo imposed on Britain and France to other European countries, after the EU set a ban on Iranian oil over the country's controversial nuclear program. The EU ban is to go into effect in July.

The West suspects Iran is pursuing atomic weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

Buffett Rule: Picking an election-year fight with Republicans, President Barack Obama is urging Congress to boost taxes on millionaires, traveling to Florida to make a populist pitch on an issue that draws a sharp contrast with GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Obama is outlining his support for the so-called "Buffett rule" in Boca Raton, Fla., arguing that wealthy investors should not pay taxes at a lower rate than middle-class wage earners.

The push for the Buffett rule, named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, comes ahead of a Senate vote next week and as millions of Americans prepare to file their income tax returns. The plan has little chance of passing Congress, but Senate Democrats say the issue underscores the need for economic fairness.

Obama's team has made the Buffett rule a key part of its message, saying it shows clear differences with Romney, who has opposed the plan and withstood criticism from Democrats for paying about 15 percent in federal taxes for 2011 on income mostly derived from investments.

"Romney is a beneficiary of a broken tax system, and he wants to keep it that way," Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said Monday in a conference call with reporters.

Romney campaign spokeswoman Gail Gitcho said Obama was the "first president in history to openly campaign for re-election on a platform of higher taxes." She said the plan would raise taxes on small businesses.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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