President Barack Obama took his push for healthcare to the U.S. heartland Thursday, calling the current system unsustainable and vowing not to tolerate endless delay before acting to fix it.

Hosting a townhall-style meeting, Obama stuck to his support for including a new government-sponsored insurance plan as part of a healthcare overhaul, despite opposition to the idea from Republicans, private insurers and even the influential American Medical Association doctors' group.

We have reached a point where doing nothing about the cost of health care is no longer an option. The status quo is unsustainable, the Democratic president told an audience at a high school.

Obama's drive on healthcare comes as lawmakers seek to craft a bill and pass it through the Senate before their summer break. Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives also hope to move legislation through by August.

As Congress moves forward on healthcare legislation in the coming weeks, I understand there will be different ideas and disagreements ... I welcome those ideas, he said. But what I will not welcome is endless delay.

Obama acknowledged public concerns about the cost of extending coverage to tens of millions of people who do not have health insurance at time when the government is spending heavily on economic recovery programs and financial bailouts.

That's why I have already promised that reform will not add to our deficit over the next 10 years, he said.

To make that happen, we have already identified hundreds of billions worth of savings in our budget -- savings that will come from steps like reducing Medicare overpayments to insurance companies and rooting out waste, fraud and abuse in both Medicare and Medicaid, he said. I will be outlining hundreds of billions more in savings in the days to come.

But with some estimates putting the cost of healthcare reform at $1.2 trillion, Obama conceded those savings will not be enough.

Even with these savings, reform will require additional sources of revenue, he said. That's why I've proposed that we scale back how much the highest-income Americans can deduct on their taxes back to the rate from the Reagan years and use that money to help finance health care.