House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Republicans are still willing to work with Democrats to pass healthcare reform -- if President Obama sends signals that he'd oppose more government-run care.

Cantor said that Republicans need to hear from Obama that there will be "no government decision making" in rationing care or restricting Americans to get medical treatment.

"That's the signal for us that we could produce some reform," Cantor told The Hill Thursday.

"American people are ready to see Washington produce," he added. "Now is the time to see the president and his party to begin to come to the table."

Obama will give an address on healthcare reform Wednesday night before a joint session of Congress.

Cantor and House Republicans have blasted the healthcare reform proposals of House Democrats, saying that it would lead to more government in healthcare, less access to treatment and unsustainable federal spending. Their concerns have been loudly echoed by conservative activists at town-hall meetings held by Democratic lawmakers during Congress's summer recess.

The White House has sent signals this week that it will put less effort into courting GOP conservatives -- namely Sens. Mike Enzi (Idaho) and Chuck Grassley (Iowa) -- and will focus more on finding support from centrist Republicans such as Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine).

All three senators are negotiating with Democratic colleagues on the Senate Finance Committee to produce a healthcare bill.

Cantor also criticized the Obama administration for its upbeat rhetoric on the economy, saying that it failed to reflect Americans' economic struggles.

"There's a pretty significant disconnect as far as where the administration is on this economy and the reality for American families," Cantor told The Hill in response to Vice President Biden's Thursday speech touting the positive economic effects of the stimulus.

While Biden credited the $787 billion stimulus for helping produce improved economic signals -- an increase in home sales, a decrease in the rate of economic contraction and, according to the White House, 750,000 jobs created or saved -- Cantor said that the spending hadn't jolted the economy or kept unemployment below 8 percent, which is what administration officials said it would do.

"The economy is still on life support," Cantor said. "If the vice president talked to the same people that I have spoken to, small businesses, he would realize there is no concept of how people are going to get into the job creating mode."

Cantor acknowledged that some economic numbers looked better than in recent months, but he said others, including consumer spending, are still weak. He called on more steps to improve lending for small businesses.

"We cannot continue to borrow our way into prosperity," Cantor said. "It won't happen. That's why we've got to be productive, be reasonable and do what most Americans are doing right now, tighten the belt."

Cantor suggested that Republicans could win more seats in next year's House elections, but he wouldn't say whether Republicans could take back control of the House in 2010.

"I feel the public sees one-party rule and no check and balance," he said. "The public feels the need for a check to bring government back to the middle.

"If the election was held today, I believe it would be an outcome of selecting the deisre to have a much more reasoned approach to Washington," he added.