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Trump aims to squeeze Democrats into health-care negotiations

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         Trump aims to squeeze Democrats into health-care negotiations

WASHINGTON — Almost three weeks after canceling a vote on his health-care package over infighting among his fellow Republicans and the opposition of the Democrats, President Donald Trump dug back into the fight on Wednesday, threatening to withhold payments to insurers to force Democrats to the negotiating table.

In an interview in the Oval Office, Trump said the White House may lack authority to make the payments established under his predecessor to reduce copayments and deductibles for some of the poorest customers who buy insurance under the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Cutting off the payments could trigger turmoil in insurance markets.

Read: Why did Trump flip-flop on Yellen? She may be the dove he needs, analysts say

“I don’t want people to get hurt,” Trump said. “What I think should happen — and will happen — is the Democrats will start calling me and negotiating.”

In a 70-minute interview that touched on a range of foreign policy and domestic issues, Trump said he wouldn’t release any guidelines for a promised overhaul of the tax code until a health-care bill passes. He held out hope that Republicans could forge a new health-care law despite the failed previous effort and subsequent talks that didn’t yield a deal between the Freedom Caucus group of lawmakers and centrist Republicans.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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