The president told CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer that, in detailing his health care proposals, he is attempting to warn Americans that the federal budget cannot sustain the current system and "a lot of Americans are going to be much worse off over time."
Schieffer asked if the president could still keep his campaign promise that there would be no additional tax on people making less than $250,000 a year, no payroll tax and no capital gains.
"I can still keep that promise," Mr. Obama said, "because … about two thirds of what we've proposed would be from money that's already in the health care system and just being spent badly."
"This is not me making wild assertions," he continued.
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President Obama did admit that "we are going to have to find some additional sources of revenue" to subsidize the other third of the cost. Insurance and drug companies are going to have to pony up, he explained.
Schieffer then asked how the additional cost to drug and insurance companies would not trickle down to Americans pocketbooks.
"They are passing on those costs to the consumer anyway," he responded. "The difference is that they're making huge profits on it, Bob."
By enforcing the rules and standards of care, the president said, he can assure Americans that they are getting "bang for their buck" in terms of medical treatment.
"Let me be honest," the president told Schieffer, "with a piece of legislation this complicated and a sector of the economy that's about one-sixth of our economy, there's a reason why for the last forty years people have been talking about this and it hasn't gotten done."
"It's hard," he admitted.