The president also acknowledged that extending coverage will cost "a good deal of money at a time where we don't have extra to spend." He promised anew that he will not allow reform to add to the deficit, and said he will propose new savings "in the days to come" beyond those already outlined to help explain how reform will be financed.
But, he said, that won't be enough. "I'll be honest, even with these savings, reform will require additional sources of revenue," Obama said.
He proposes raising taxes on the highest-earning Americans by limiting the value of deductions they can claim, including charitable donations. This idea has little backing on Capitol Hill.
Green Bay resident Laura Klitzka, a 35-year-old, married mother of two who has breast cancer that has now spread to her bones, introduced Obama. She carries about $12,000 in unpaid medical bills that continue to pile up as treatment continues that she said her family cannot afford.
The White House considers such emotional pleas critical to selling reform. Obama's political arm, the grass-roots machine known as Organizing for America, has collected hundreds of thousands of similar stories that could shame lawmakers who don't sign on.
"What we're doing right now is we're really priming the pump. I mean, we will ramp this activity up, we'll make more explicit calls for people to call members of Congress - every member of Congress that we can get a call into - as we approach key votes," said Dan Grandone, a political aide who runs Obama's re-election campaign-in-waiting in Wisconsin.