Rep. Pence: Drop public option

Pence (R-Ind.) said Obama needs to drop the controversial provision if he is to regain the confidence of Americans.

“Both the administration and Democrats in Congress could do nothing that would help restore the confidence in the American people more than if the president came to the well of the Congress and said, ‘I’ve been listening to the American people. What’s clear is that people don’t want a government-run health insurance plan — that’s off the table,' ” Pence, the GOP conference chairman, said in a news briefing with reporters.

Obama will deliver an address Wednesday night to a joint session of Congress in an effort to salvage his plans for healthcare reform this year.

Liberals in the House and Senate are demanding that a healthcare bill include a public insurance option to foster competition in the industry and lower prices. Republicans and some centrist Democrats argue the public option would drive the private sector out of business.

There’s been little sign from the White House on how adamant Obama will be in demanding a public option. He has repeatedly said he supports a public insurance option, but administration officials in August cast it as not essential to reform.