The health care overhaul passed by the House on Sunday has its share of local supporters and detractors, including one man who felt powerless in the legislative process.

The health care overhaul passed by the House on Sunday has its share of local supporters and detractors, including one man who felt powerless in the legislative process.


"The government is the government, it's passed. What are you gonna do?" said Jim "Fonzi" DeFonso, shrugging his shoulders.


No one offered undiluted praise or expressed great excitement over the landmark bill that will transform the American health care system. Late Sunday, the House narrowly passed the Senate's health legislation in a 219-to-212 vote, which President Obama was set to sign off on Tuesday.


DeFonso, a retired Waltham resident and volunteer clown for the Shriners, said he is already limited, as a Medicare recipient, in the doctors he can see.


"I tell my doctor, 'I'd give up my apartment before my medical insurance,"' he said.


DeFonso, like many others, said he is still learning the details of the 2,000-plus-page universal health care plan.


"If it lowers your monthly premium, and you get good coverage, it's good," DeFonso concluded.


Several self-employed Waltham residents said they are optimistic their health insurance premiums - more than $1,200 a month to cover a husband and wife - will drop under the new plan, and hope insurance will now be "even-keel" for everyone.


Dimitri Karageorge, a city resident who recently signed up for Mass Health, said the state program that served as a model for the national health care bill has served him well.


"To me, if Mass Health can work, why can't a national health care plan work?" Karageorge said.


"It's working well for me. If (the universal plan) is comparable to Mass Health, I'll be happy," said Karageorge.


Karageorge said he is also pleased to see parents will be able to keep their children on their insurance plan until age 26, and the self-employed will have lower rates.


"The question I have is, is this going to stop them from taking people's houses away when they're terminally ill?" asked Karageorge.


Newton resident Thomas Hopkins said he had mixed feelings about the plan, and will wait to see "how it plays out."


"They did away with insurance companies being able to turn you away because of pre-existing conditions, that's a good thing," Hopkins said.


He believes, under the plan, doctors won't be as readily available, and the government will regulate how often people can see physicians.


"They say a lot of politicians won't get re-elected because of this, because they voted the opposite of what their communities wanted," said Hopkins.


"In theory, it sounds good, but in theory, the bailout of car companies sounded good, and how well did that turn out?" he said.


Daily News Tribune writer Joyce Kelly can be reached at 781-398-8005 or jkelly@cnc.com.