Trying to give the new public health insurance exchange system complete, accurate information about household income is difficult and potentially dangerous, witnesses told lawmakers today. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum, presented a colorful, full-page income verification flowchart with seven major sections and three paths that lead to a step labeled “honor system.”

Holtz-Eakin, also a former director of the Congressional Budget Office, said the closer consumers get to going through the exchange system income verification process, the more complicated it looks. If consumers give the wrong information, “the penalty for unintentional negligence could as much as $25,000,” Holtz-Eakin said. “Intentional misrepresentation could result in a fine of $250,000 or incarceration.”

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