President Obama continued to push forward on health care reform today, despite suffering a setback with news that a health care reform bill would not come to a vote in the Senate before the August deadline Obama had imposed.
"Our general view is we can get this done by the fall, and so this doesn't set back that schedule," Obama told ABC News' Terry Moran, in an exclusive interview.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced the Senate's delay, but assured that the Senate Finance Committee will produce a health care bill before the month-long recess, which will then be voted on come fall.
In an interview with Moran, Obama remained optimistic.
"Frankly if you don't express a sense of urgency about this thing then people always say, 'Let's put it off.' And I really do think that the families that I talk to who are struggling with health care right now can't afford it to be put off," he said.
On the heels of a primetime news conference pushing health care reform, Obama traveled to Ohio and held a town hall meeting on health care, where he addressed fears and stigmas associated with a public plan.
"Nightline's" Terry Moran joined the president on the road as he attempted to rally public support.
A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll found that tepid support for President Obama's health care efforts have weakened his popularity, with his job approval rating falling to 59 percent.
Speaking with Moran, Obama reinforced that the time for substantive health care reform is now.
"The country has to reform its health care system or else not only are you going to continue to have people really going through a hard time, we're also going see a continuing escalation of our budget problems that can't get under control," Obama told Moran. "I think America has to win it here."
In the dialogue surrounding health care, Obama warned against "scare tactics," which he said are fostering anxiety and serving to distract Americans from the plan's principles.
"I think people -- even if they're dissatisfied with their health care right now -- they get nervous which, you know, I completely understand. And so my job has been to make sure that people understand the status quo is untenable," Obama said. "My job as president is to get the facts and the facts are on our side in this situation."
Obama maintained that the government's public plan will work to restructure the health care industry to use funds more efficiently.
"We don't want to see that money wasted on weapons systems that aren't needed. We don't want it spent on welfare programs that don't work. And we shouldn't want that spent on tests that aren't making people better," he said. "So the real issue is, are we getting the best value for the money that we are already spending? And the answer is no."
During Thursday's trip to Ohio, the president visited the Cleveland Clinic, a top medical institution, which he has lauded for its cost-effective approach to health care.
But on the debate surrounding the virtues of public versus private, employer versus single-payer system, above all, Obama said that, title aside, he wants "an American system that works well for the American people."