Elias Seife made his first trip to the White House on Monday -- not as a mere tourist but as a guest of President Donald Trump's.
The Miami-area computer programmer was one of 11 people who met with the president to share their stories about frustrations with the Affordable Care Act.
Seife told the Miami Herald he got his invitation after going to his state representative, Republican Jose Felix Diaz of Miami, about his Obamacare concerns. To then expand on them to the president, Seife said Tuesday, was "a true privilege."
Seife, who has his own small business since 1993, said his individual insurance plan was canceled because it no longer met coverage criteria once Obamacare went into effect. Since then, he's had to change his family plan -- which also covers his wife and their 10-year-old daughter -- every year due to rising premiums and deductibles. Last year, he paid $1,400 a month for coverage; this year, he switched plans after the premium climbed to $1,900.
"I can't pay that," he told the Herald. "It's unsustainable."
Meeting in the Roosevelt Room along with Vice President Mike Pence and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, each of the individuals invited by Trump talked about losing insurance coverage and facing higher costs to cover themselves and their employees.
Seife, sitting two seats from Trump, mentioned that his parents immigrated from communist Cuba.
"They know what socialism is all about," he said. "I know what socialism is...and this whole system was meant to have one single provider."
"It'll get better. If we're allowed to do what we want to do, it will get better. Much better," Trump said at the meeting. "Hopefully it will get very good."
Photo credit: Michael Reynolds, Getty Images via pool