Obama Monday tried to downplay the differences over the public option, saying that debate is not the most important aspect of the bill.
"This is an area that has just become symbolic of a lot of ideological fights. As a practical matter, this is not the most important aspect to this bill -- the House bill or the Senate bill," the president said in an interview with American Urban Radio Networks, adding that "the Senate and the House bills are 95 percent identical."
In an interview with PBS Wednesday, the president reiterated that point, saying he will sign a bill even if it doesn't contain a public option.
"Would I like one of those options to be the public option? Yes. Do I think that it makes sense, as some have argued, that, without the public option, we dump all these other extraordinary reforms and we say to the 30 million people who don't have coverage: 'You know, sorry. We didn't get exactly what we wanted?' I don't think that makes sense," Obama said.
ABC News' Jonathan Karl contributed to this report.