The American Medical Association wants the government to require affluent individuals and families to buy a minimum level of catastrophic and preventive health care policies.

The proposal is step 1 of an AMA plan to bring health care to all Americans. Ultimately, all Americans would be required to acquire health insurance under the plan, which the AMA, Chicago, adopted at its annual meeting this week.

The initial stage of the plan would require those earning more than 5 times the federal poverty level ($49,000 for an individual and $100,000 for a family of four) to obtain health care coverage.

The plan would use tax incentives to achieve compliance.

Upon implementation of a system of refundable tax credits or other subsidies to obtain health care coverage, the AMA would support a similar mandate for those earning less than 5 times the federal poverty level.

“The uninsured live sicker and die younger than the rest of Americans, primarily because they do not seek care before their health status reaches crisis proportions,” said AMA board member Ardis Hoven. “Physicians, policy-makers and others must work together to extend health care coverage to all.”