Even before the economic recession started in 2007, there were over six million uninsured Californians. Since then, at least 500,000 Californians have become uninsured by virtue of losing their jobs. Without health insurance coverage, emergency rooms are sometimes the only access to medical services a person has. Under existing law, all of California’s more than 300 hospital emergency departments are required to stabilize any patient presenting themselves with a medical emergency, regardless of their income or ability to pay. In 2007, the uninsured accounted for about 16 percent of all emergency department visits (or about 1.7 million visits).