"We spend over $2 trillion on health care every year. So we spend more per person on health care in this country than any other country by far," Obama said. "So if we can just make some small changes that make the system more efficient, the waste and abuse, this -- the money that's already being spent that's not making people healthier, that money can go to provide a better deal for those without insurance. And, over time, can actually reduce the cost for those who already have health insurance."
At a health care rally in Minneapolis on Saturday, the president once again tried to fire up Americans with his call for a "season for action."
"I may not be the first president to take up the cause of health care reform, but I am determined to be the last," Obama said to a cheering audience.
But many Americans are not convinced, and across the country, thousands of conservative protestors came from around the nation to Washington, D.C., for "Tea Party" protests, to tell the president they oppose a health care bill and any other government spending.
"We're true hot-blooded Americans and concerned about what's going on in our government," said Stephanie Crise, who flew with her family from Dallas to join the protests. "We're worried about the spending. We're worried the corruption that's happening. We're worried the lies we're getting."
Experts say the protest is a sign of the deep divide on this very sensitive issue.
"The demonstration on Saturday sent a clear signal that even though the president gave this speech to the Congress Wednesday night, the country remains deeply polarized about health care," Gergen said.
"Clearly the country does feel fatigued. And I think the single greatest item that is now a drag on health care reform is a sense in the country -- too much, too fast, too expensive -- slow it down," Gergen said. "And that more than the details on health care reform itself, people are worried about how much this costs, how much of that is the deficit, what does that mean to the long-term costs."
The president says he understands the anxiousness among Americans, having gone through the worst economic crisis in history since the Great Depression, and a deepening deficit.
"This is a very difficult economic environment. People are feeling anxious," Obama said on "60 Minutes." "And I think it is absolutely fair to say that people started feeling some sticker shock. So there is an argument to be made out there that -- that maybe health care can just wait."
But the president also insists that health care reform is key to reducing the deficit and cutting costs in the long term.
"The problem I've got is that the only way I can get medium and long-term federal spending under control is if we do something about health care. Ironically, health care reform is critical to deficit reduction," he said.
ABC News' Huma Khan contributed to this report.