House Democrats have started hearings on a partisan health care bill.
Democrats and Republicans are deeply divided on the idea of a government health plan competing with private insurance.
"Real health care reform that reduces the spiraling costs of health services and extends quality, affordable health coverage to all Americans will require these kinds of commitments," President Obama said.
"Most importantly what is the role of government, what is the obligation an employer has that's what the controversy about this bill is about and we should address it first," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. "The rest of it is important but it's essentially window dressing."
The president's plan is expected to cost more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years. But Sen. McCain says it could cost $3 trillion and there's no proposal to pay for it.