Over the past few decades, the number and diversity of limited English speakers in the USA has burgeoned. With this increased diversity has come increased pressure--including new legal requirements--on healthcare systems and clinicians to ensure equal treatment of limited English speakers. Healthcare providers are often unclear about their legal obligations to provide language services. In this article, we describe the federal mandates for language rights in health care, provide a broad overview of existing state laws and describe recent legal developments in addressing language barriers. We conclude with an analysis of key policy initiatives that would substantively improve health care for LEP patients.