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Health care providers from across the country have reported language difficulties and inadequate funding of language services to be major barriers to limited English proficiency (LEP) individuals' access to quality health care. Almost 52 million people--over 19% of the U.S. population--speak a language other than English at home.The Census Bureau's 2005 American Community Survey documented that over 29% of all Spanishspeakers, 22% of Asian and Pacific Island language speakers, and 13% of Indo-European language speakers speak English "not well" or "not at all." Estimates of the number of people with LEP range from a low of about 12 million, or 4.5% of the U.S. population--who speak English "not well" or "not at all"--to over 23 million people, or 8.6% of the U.S. population--if one includes those who speak English less than "very well.
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