SOUTH JORDAN — People sat in the aisles, stood in the back and peeked out from behind the stage's curtain Wednesday night in the packed Elk Ridge Middle School auditorium as Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, rode a wave of anger over health-care reform at a town hall meeting.

There were occasional outbursts and shouting matches among the capacity crowd of roughly 1,000 people, but it remained relatively peaceful.

A sign held by a young boy summed up the prevailing viewpoint — "Government, don't spend all my $$ before I'm old enough to get a job" — while another across the room gave a different angle: "I work full time but have no insurance."

The meeting came amid rancorous gatherings across the country that have cast doubt on the ability of President Barack Obama and Congress to win support for broad health-care legislation.

Most attendees cheered when Chaffetz held up one thick version of the bill and said, "There's no way I would vote for this."

In contrast, a man who expressed support for a health-care measure proposed by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., was greeted with loud boos and jeers.

Several people said they're worried that immigrants are draining resources by getting free care in emergency rooms, and that reform won't address that issue. One man shouted, "All I know is what I've seen coming out of Washington, D.C., the last few months is the stupidest thing I've ever seen in my life."

Almost 300,000 Utahns are uninsured, but Chaffetz suggested that health care might not be in the state of crisis depicted by advocates of reform.

"I really believe in my heart of hearts we have the world's best health care," he said. "If you get sick or you get in an accident, you want to be in the United States of America."

Chaffetz said he would not support a mandate that everyone have health insurance, and instead proposed his own reform plan emphasizing state control, tort reform and health savings accounts.

"I fundamentally, at my core, do not trust the federal government," he said.

Neither does South Jordan resident Cheryl Walker, who said she attended because she was curious about what Chaffetz would say."I'm really cranky about this whole thing," she said. "Name one thing the government has run well except the Army."

In an interview before the meeting, Chaffetz said "enough Democrats are feeling the heat" that he now considers passage of a comprehensive reform package "very unlikely."

Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, is the only other member of Utah's congressional delegation holding town hall meetings this month, with Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, and Sens. Bob Bennett and Orrin Hatch, both R-Utah, opting instead for telephone conferences.

One questioner drew laughs when he mistakenly referred to the congressman as "Senator Chaffetz."

"I appreciate your optimism," replied Chaffetz, who has not ruled out a 2010 Senate bid.

Chaffetz has town hall meetings remaining in Ephraim, 1 p.m. Sept. 2 at the Greenwood Student Center, 250 E. College Ave.; in Fillmore, 5 p.m. Sept. 2 at the Old Territorial Statehouse; and in Delta, 7 p.m. Sept. 2 at the Delta City Office, 76 N. 200 West.

Bishop has two more planned: in Morgan, 6 p.m. Friday at Morgan High School; and in Ogden, 8 p.m. Friday at the Weber County Commission Chambers, 2380 Washington Blvd.