- Associated Press - Thursday, April 2, 2015

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey’s top court says the state may legally deny Medicaid benefits to adult non-citizens who are in the United States legally but have been here less than five years.

The state Supreme Court in a split decision released Monday affirmed a lower court ruling allowing the denial. The justices did not issue a new opinion in the case.

Chief Justice Stuart Rabner and Justice Barry Albin both voted to reverse the decision.

The state started allowing non-residents into its Medicaid program in 2005, reasoning that offering the coverage would result in lower emergency hospital charity care bills.

Amid a budget crisis in 2010, the state changed its policy again, denying the coverage.

The lower court found that was permissible under a 1996 federal law.

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