"We're not going to get a perfect answer," he said. "Our system is too large and too complex to accomplish that in one action, but we need to have a beginning. I'm more concerned about not having the beginning of reform of our health care system. These concerns I have I think can be addressed in due course, but we need to really come together and enact health care reform now."
Obama has been touting such sentiments from individuals such as Sullivan, and former Senate GOP majority leaders Bob Dole, R-Kansas, and Bill Frist., R-Tenn., who have spoken in favor of bipartisan compromise more broadly.
"What's remarkable is not that we've had a spirited debate about health insurance reform, but the unprecedented consensus that has come together behind it," the president said in his weekly address. "This consensus encompasses everyone from doctors and nurses to hospitals and drug manufacturers. Still, there are some in Washington today who seem determined to play the same old partisan politics, working to score political points, even if it means burdening this country with an unsustainable status quo."
Dole said he doesn't agree wholeheartedly with Obama or congressional Democrats but stressed that action needed to be taken on health care.
"Congress could be close to passing comprehensive health reform," Dole said at a health care summit in Kansas City last week. "The American people have waited decades and, if this moment passes us by, it may be decades more before there is another opportunity. The current approaches suggested by the Congress are far from perfect, but they do provide some basis on which Congress can move forward and we urge the joint leadership to get together for America's sake."
Frist, himself a cardiac surgeon, told Time Magazine that if he were in still in the Senate, he would vote for the bill, even if he faced backlash.
"As leader, I would take heat for it," he said. "That's what leadership is all about."
The Democratic National Committee unveiled a TV ad featuring Dole and Frist endorsing health care overhaul but the former Kansas senator said the ad went too far. Instead of pushing for bipartisan compromise, the ad suggested that was bashing Republicans.
"I wish they hadn't done it," Dole said of the DNC ad in an interview Sunday with ABC News, adding that the ad's depiction of current GOP leaders "is just not my view.
"The ad doesn't reflect what I was trying to do," he said. "I just didn't think it was fair, when I've tried to be helpful in encouraging a bipartisan solution, for the DNC to run an ad that I interpreted and I know others did as a backhanded comment about Republicans."
Dole complained to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who had DNC pull the ad.
ABC News' Huma Khan contributed to this report.