A US social insurance system is under attack after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a blueprint for revising the way it treats and benefits people with mental illness.
The social contract was written by the US Congress in 1957, when it was still governed by the British system.
The US has a long history of expanding social insurance benefits and policies, and the American Social Security Administration (ASSA) was formed in 1965.
But it is now under pressure from the Trump administration to reform how it works.
Under a new plan, the US could see its social insurance costs rise by $4.6bn (£3bn) over the next 10 years, and by an average of $6.6 per enrollee per year, according to the plan, which was released by the agency on Wednesday.
The plan would increase the social insurance cap to $75,000 for single-parent households and $200,000 per child under 16.
It would also extend the coverage to mental health treatment, which is currently limited to people who are not diagnosed with a mental illness or who are under the age of 65.ASSA is currently negotiating with the Trump Administration over a new “sustainable” social insurance plan, expected in 2019.
The new plan also would allow people to use a social insurance account, known as a social security number, to access benefits such as health care, unemployment insurance, and Medicaid.
“We have a lot of options to do better, and we’re going to continue to do so,” said ASSA Commissioner Sarah Shaffer in a statement.
“The changes we are proposing today are long overdue.
The cost of caring for those with mental health problems is a growing burden for millions of Americans.”
In a letter sent to the Trump White House, ASSA’s commissioner expressed “deep concern” that “our plan for Social Security and Medicaid coverage is no longer sustainable”.
“We cannot and must not put our financial future at risk,” Shaffer wrote.
“Social Security and Medicare are critical to ensuring that the US can continue to provide benefits to millions of eligible individuals with mental illnesses.”
The plan, drafted by the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, is the latest effort by the Trump administrations administration to overhaul the way Americans are covered under the social security system.
Earlier this year, the Department for Education (DEP) released its own proposal to overhaul how people with chronic mental illnesses and addiction are covered by social security.
It proposes to reduce the age at which people can be considered disabled, lower the maximum annual income for people who need it and lower benefits for people with disabilities.