Overflow Crowd Greets Tiahrt Health Care Town Hall

Topeka (WIBW) - It was standing room only and then some for a town hall meeting on health care reform Thursday morning.

So many people showed up at the the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library that library staff actually turned people away.

Some 400 people packed the Marvin Auditorium and Milenium Cafe for the event hosted by Congressman Todd Tiahrt, R-Kansas.

The vast majority supported Tiahrt in his opposition to the Obama administration's current proposal, saying it would threaten freedom to make one's own health care decisions.

However, Tiahrt says that doesn't mean do nothing. He says he'd like to see health care reforms focus on areas of health care currently driving high costs, portability across state lines and from job to job, the right to choose physicians and getting uninsured people enrolled in existing programs.

Among concerns expressed by those in attendance were that a government-run system would not be able to hand the influx of new patients, leading to long waits for services and denial of treatment.

Some people also questioned why illegal immigrants would be guaranteed coverage and whether the Constitution allowed Congress to be involved in the issue at all.

Tiahrt represents the state's 4th Congressional district, encompassing the Wichita area. He said he chose Topeka for a town hall meeting as part of a listening tour for his Senate campaign. Tiahrt faces 1st district Congressman Jerry Moran for the Republican nomination for the seat currently held by Sam Brownback.

Moran held his own listening sessions Thursday in McPherson, Marion and Chase counties.

Regardless of the political aspect, Tiahrt says health care is an important issue to everyone and people want to know someone will stand up for them, as evidenced by the turnout.

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