Posted at: 08/17/2009 9:55 PM
Updated at: 08/18/2009 8:26 AM
By: Eyewitness News 4

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Lujan talks health care at packed town hall

Congressman Ben Ray Lujan spoke to about 200 Monday

There was a full house Monday in Santa Fe for a town hall meeting about health insurance reform.

About 200 showed up at the Santa Fe Unitarian Church to ask Congressman Ben Ray Lujan questions and give input about the controversial legislation.

Unlike other town hall meetings across the country where shouting matches have ensued, there were no raised voices Monday night. But attendees were required to submit their questions on a note card instead of asking them directly.

Lujan said he has heard of many options, including discussions about co-ops.

"I support a public option. I think it's an important part of this legislation," he said.

About 100 people weren't allowed into the meeting after the fire marshal decided the building had reached capacity. Those people were allowed in later.

Supporters and opponents of the public option both had their say at the meeting.

"I believe that there is a real chance for at least a public option. I really support single payer: one government, pays for all citizens, sort of everybody has Medicare type plan," said Robin Chavez.

But Emil Mottola said he doesn't want the public option forced on people.

"That's not what the majority wants," Mottola said. "There are reforms that could be made, but rushing through this kind of single public option is not what most people are for and is not what I'm for."

Some at the meeting said they didn't like the format—they wanted to stand up and ask their question instead of submitting it on a card.

Representative Martin Heinrich will host a town hall meeting Saturday at UNM's continuing education building. That meeting goes from 3:00 until 4:30 p.m.

 Lujan: We can't afford the status quo