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CBO to release updated health law cost in late July

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Two weeks from now, Congress’ official scorekeepers will release an updated price tag for President Obama’s health care that could bring dramatic changes in cost estimates now that the Supreme Court has modified the law.

The Congressional Budget Office said Monday it will release its recalculation the week of July 23, giving candidates more ammunition in their battles over the health care law leading up to the November elections.

While the court upheld most of the health law, it made one key change that could mean fewer people take part in Medicaid and instead end up in heavily subsidized health exchanges — a move that could make the law more expensive for the federal government.

If the CBO predicts the law will cost more, Republicans will likely add the higher tab to their litany of complaints about the Affordable Care Act.

But some proponents of the health care law say it could end up costing less if enough states opt out of the law’s planned Medicaid expansion, since the federal government was required to pay most of their expenses for newly qualifying enrollees.

That conclusion could aid Democrats, who often remind voters that the law is expected to reduce the federal deficit in the long term, according to an original analysis by the CBO.

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