"What it true is that this is a philosophical disagreement because some who are opposed to this bill think that if we de-regulate the insurance companies, that that will reduce rates," Obama told ABC's Tapper. "There's no evidence that that would, in fact, happen.
"For most people who already have health insurance, they're not going to see much of a change except they'll have more protection in the insurance they already have. But for millions of Americans, they'll be in a more secure position and the federal government and state governments are going to be in a position where they are not running these huge, outside multi-billion-dollar deficits over and over again each year that add up to an unsustainable debt we'll be imposing on future generations," he said.
Obama said the bill is being planned in stages precisely to guard against unintended consequences.
"The infrastructure couldn't take it right away, which is why this is all being phased in. The question is, if we don't start now, then it won't be in place three, four, five years from now and then we'll be waiting another decade or another 15 years or another 20 years to actually take on this problem," the president told Tapper.
"This is not a problem I chose. This is a problem that is there and is affecting every aspect of American life, and if we don't tackle it now in a serious way, not only are you going to see folks like Natoma get in a tougher and tougher spot, but what you're also going to find is a federal government that can't pay its bills on Medicare and Medicaid," he said.
"You're going to see companies who are dropping health care -- and we've already seen more and more companies getting rid of their health care -- and we're going to be burdened in terms of competitiveness in a way that's going to affect our ability to grow the number of jobs that we need to give everybody a change for the American dream."
ABC News' Dean Norland and Boris Korby contributed to this report.