"I'm willing to move off some of the preferences of my party, in order to meet them halfway," he said. "But there's got to be some give from their side as well. That's true on health care. That's true on energy. That's true on financial reform. That's what I'm hoping gets accomplished at this summit."
Asked if the health care summit would include economists and public-interest groups, as Republicans have called for, the president said the White House has not "refined" the agenda.
He indicated that he wants some non-partisan voices, like the Congressional Budget Office, are included to make sure that facts are debated, not opinions.
"If we can establish that factual accuracy about how different approaches would work, then I think we can make some progress. And it may be that some of the facts that come up are ones that make my party a little bit uncomfortable," he said.
"So you know, if it's established that by working seriously on medical malpractice and tort reform that we can reduce some of those costs, I've said from the beginning of this debate I'd be willing to work on that," he said. "On the other hand, if I'm told that that is only a fraction of the problem and that is not the biggest driver of health-care costs, then I'm also going to insist, OK, let's look at that as one aspect of it, but what else are we willing to do?"
Obama liked this process to his marriage with the first lady.
"Bipartisanship cannot mean simply that Democrats give up everything that they believe in, find the handful of things that Republicans have been advocating for, and we do those things, and then we have bipartisanship," he said. "That's not how it works, you know, in any other realm of life. That's certainly not how it works in my marriage with Michelle, although I usually do give in most of the time. But the -- there's got to be some give and take, and that's what I'm hoping can be accomplished."
Obama used the example of how Anthem Blue Cross, the largest insurer in California, is planning to raise premiums for many individual policy holders by as much as 39 percent.
"If we don't act, this is just a preview of coming attractions," the president said. "Premiums will continue to rise for folks with insurance. Millions more will lose their coverage altogether. Our deficits will continue to grow larger."
One of the reasons Anthem Blue Cross says that it's raising its premiums is because so many people are dropping out of indicial coverage because the economy's so bad, much of which has to do with businesses being uncertain about legislation in Washington.
"The sooner the business community has a sense that we've got our act together here in Washington and can move forward on big, serious issues in a substantive way without a lot of posturing and partisan wrangling, I think the better off the entire country's going to be," Obama said.
Obama said during his meeting with House and Senate leadership today there was a large discussion about the jobs bill being debated on the Hill.
While calling for additional ideas, all of which he said he will consider, the president said what he won't consider "is doing nothing in the face of a lot of hardships across the country."
Few issues are treated with as much "vigorous bipartisan agreement" in public, while facing "a lot of partisan wrangling behind closed doors," as the issue of restoring fiscal responsibility.