Defiant Obama 'absolutely convinved' of health bill this year

President Obama said late Friday he remained "absolutely convinced" he would be able to sign a healthcare reform bill into laws.

A defiant president warned lawmakers against losing hope or slowing down reform efforts, even as lawmakers in the House and Senate continue to wrangle over the shape and financing of various healthcare reform bills.

"I wanted everybody to just step back for a moment and look at the unprecedented progress we've already made," Obama said in remarks at the White House this afternoon.

"I realize that the last few miles, in many ways, are the hardest to run," he continued. "But I have to say: Now is not the time to slow down."

House and Senate leaders are scrambling to pass various versions of healthcare legislation into conference before a self-imposed August recess deadline. Those efforts have seen setbacks from Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analyses and skeptical words from some key lawmakers.

Obama had special words for doubters, though.

"That's why those who are betting against this happening this year are badly mistaken," he said. "It will happen this year. I am absolutely convinced of that."