Cantor 'heartened' by talk of dropping public option

Signals yesterday that the Obama administration may be willing to compromise on healthcare reform "heartened" House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, the Virginia Republican said Monday.

"I am heartened by what the secretary of Health and Human Services said yesterday -- that she doesn't think, necessarily, that a government takeover of healthcare is a necessary component of what the Obama administration is trying to do," Cantor said during an appearance this morning on CNBC.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Sunday that a public (or "government-run") option for consumers was "not the essential element" for a successful healthcare reform push by President Obama and his administration. That suggestion has prompted criticism that the administration had "retreated" from its previous support for the public option.

Republicans have long said that the public option would be a non-starter to win their support, though Cantor gave no hint as to whether or not the GOP would necessarily support any Democratic-crafted bill without the public plan.

The second-ranking House Republican also credited the highly-publicized series of town hall meetings taking place across the country for the White House's potential concession over the public option.

"The system of debate -- the town halls, the forums that have taken place -- I think have yielded a result in that the administration is hearing loud and clear that people in this country don't want a government takeover of their healthcare," Cantor said.

Watch a video of the CNBC interview below: