Each life saved from addiction is an important victory. And while the epidemic still rages, we are now seeing signs of national progress.

Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released its annual survey of Americans’ drug use and mental health. For the second year in a row, the number of Americans misusing legal or illegal opioids dropped. Even more encouraging, the number of Americans initiating heroin use dropped by around half from 2016 to 2017.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Wednesday that it has awarded more than $1 billion in grants to states, communities and organizations fighting the opioid crisis.

The vast majority of that funding — $930 million — is intended to support states’ efforts to provide treatment and prevention services to combat opioid abuse.

The Trump administration is close to issuing a new rule that could effectively ban rebate payments from drug manufacturers to pharmaceutical benefit managers, or PBMs. The plan is misguided. A full ban would backfire and increase costs to consumers.

The regulation, now under review at the Office of Management and Budget, could remove the safe-harbor protection for rebate payments under an anti-kickback law. But rebates are price discounts, not kickbacks. They reduce prices based on sales volume: Drug companies charge less when more of their drugs are sold to patients.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced on Wednesday a new opportunity for those who failed to comply with the individual mandate in 2018 to avoid the corresponding tax penalty. The new policy allows hardship exemptions to be claimed without “the documentary evidence or written explanation generally required.”

HHS Secretary Alex Azar on Thursday touted the CMS’ recent push for accountable care organizations to assume more risk.

In an address to an advisory group on physician-focused payment models, Azar said the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation would be launching “bold” new models to reform value-based models that include making physicians and hospitals into “accountable navigators of the health system.”

HHS wants to encourage providers to enter value-based care agreements with each other, and it’s researching whether it can offer new legal protections for those arrangements.

Yesterday marked 100 days since President Trump announced his drug pricing blueprint, the basic goal of which is to “lower prices” somehow. How successful has it been?

In thinking about this question, it is useful to remind oneself that drug production and distribution is largely market-based, and the lesson of the market framework is that prices fall only if there is an increase in supply, a decrease in demand, or a reduction in taxes and other overhead-like costs.

Short-term health insurance plans provide affordable, individualized options for people who are between jobs, taking time off to care for a sick family member, or can’t afford the few options available to them on the exchanges.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced a finalized rule change to ObamaCare that once again makes short-term, catastrophic health-insurance plans available—a revision that will bring formerly marginalized Americans like me back into the health-insurance fold.

The Trump administration announced a new rule that will help reduce prescription drug prices for many seniors enrolled in the Medicare Advantage program. How does it work? By reforming a long-standing quirk in Medicare that prevented drugmakers from competing with each other.