Pyles said his group and other psychiatric and mental health organizations that are members of the Mental Health Liaison Group oppose legislation that would allow the HHS Secretary to set a privacy standard that would override all state laws—especially a secretary in the Bush administration, which, according to Pyles, "has not been a privacy friendly administration." He added, "It is almost a sure thing that the secretary would recommend preemption of state law."
HIPAA's privacy provisions have already been weakened considerably. State laws often provide the only real protection available. And by making the rules flexible to the whims of whoever is in office and the political climate of the moment cannot make compliance any easier.