Updated: Friday, 18 Feb 2011, 12:06 PM MST
Published : Tuesday, 18 Aug 2009, 11:40 PM MDT
CLOVIS, N.M. (KRQE-KBIM) - More than 200 New Mexicans sounded off about health-care reform Tuesday night during town hall meeting with Sen. Jeff Bingaman in Clovis.
"This is going to cost us a trillion dollars," Kim Runyan told the Democratic senator on tour during the August congressional recess.
Runyan said she drove more than 60 miles to hear the Bingaman talk about reform.
Many in the vocal crowd at the Clovis Civic Center said they do not want Uncle Sam in the health-care business. One man charge the government ruins everything it touches.
"The federal government is broke," he said. "Why should we entrust another 6.5 percent of our gross national product to you?"
Several doctors from Clovis who turned out Wednesday night said reform is needed but should target malpractice lawsuits. They said unnecessary and expensive tests are driving up health-care costs.
"We cannot afford it," Dr. Lon Alexander said. "And the only reason it is being done is because we don't want to get sued for missing something."
Another big concern at the town hall meeting was the proposed public option to provide competition for private insurance companies. Bingaman said he supports a health-care cooperative which is gaining traction in Washington and controversy dogs the public option.
The co-ops would offer insurance through nonprofits owned and controlled by members similar to credit unions.
Opposing Republicans argue it is a government plan under another name, but Bingaman said that is not the case.
"Once it is established and up and running, the government would have no control over what the board of directors were to decide or what policies they were to follow," Bingaman said.
Many Wednesday night did disagree, but one man said the real consensus needs to be in Washington.
"Let’s get both parties involved and really come up with some meaningful legislation that Americans will really believe in," he said.
Bingaman is one of six member so the Senate Finance Committee who have been dubed the Gang of Six as they try to hammer out a bipartisan reform bill that has some chance of passing both houses and being signed by President Obama.
Both Bingaman and his Democratic colleague Sen. Tom Udall have more town hall meetings planned that are listed in the
KRQE.com Events Calendar .