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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has been persistent in promoting his Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 to enroll more people in health insurance under his terms rather than the Obama administration's conditions.

Pence even turned a traditional handshake-and-welcome-to-Indiana time on the tarmac in Evansville last month into a meeting with President Barack Obama to promote HIP 2.0.

Pence has met with officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services repeatedly in hopes of getting approval for his plan.

Under the terms of the Affordable Care Act, Indiana could expand Medicaid for Hoosiers with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, and under greatly incentivized conditions.

The federal government would pay the entire cost of the expanded coverage through 2016, with the federal share gradually falling to 90 percent thereafter. The federal share is 67 percent for Hoosiers currently eligible for Medicaid under the original terms.

We have said before Pence should follow that path.

Pence's alternative, which has been languishing before federal regulators since Aug. 21, would provide coverage to about 450,000 low-income Hoosiers.

Pence is getting impatient, and he has every right to be. He had hoped to hire a marketing firm in September to create a promotional campaign for this program.

"The time has come for the federal government to make a decision," Pence said this month. The HHS approved extending the original Healthy Indiana Plan for one year just days after the 30-day comment period ended.

"We hope that this decision signals an openness by this administration to move forward with approval of HIP 2.0, which is built on the same principles of personal responsibility and consumer choice," Pence said.

HIP 2.0 requires participants to pay monthly premiums of up to $25. Under the terms of traditional Medicaid, participants don't pay anything out of pocket. That's the federal government's chief objection to Pence's plan — and ours, too.

So here we are in the Affordable Care Act's open enrollment period, and low-income Hoosiers are in limbo.

There's no deadline for the federal government to act, but this foot-dragging has gone on too long.

Whether you love Pence's plan or hate it, the federal government's response — or lack thereof — is inexcusable. Too many people are left in limbo.

Make a decision, whatever it might be, so those Hoosiers and the state can plan accordingly.

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Senior Reporter

Senior reporter Doug Ross, an award-winning writer, has been covering Northwest Indiana for more than 35 years, including more than a quarter of a century at The Times.