“It would be truly tragic if the Democratic Party walked away from universal health care for the first time in 60 years when we finally got the business community and the medical community in line behind us,” he said during a campaign swing through East Texas.
New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s health plan would require everyone to have health insurance and would provide government assistance to people who can’t afford it.
Mr Obama has proposed government subsidies to help people buy insurance, but doesn’t mandate that they purchase it.
Her campaign claims that Mr Obama’s plan would leave up to 15 million people without insurance.
The former president also touched on the war in Iraq, saying indecision by the Iraqi government forces the US to keep its combat troops there. “If we stay there, we are not doing them any favours,” he said.