Healio Special Report: Health Care and Politics
Healio Special Report: Health Care and Politics
February 07, 2020
2 min read

Azar: HHS ‘should be very proud’ of its achievements, life expectancy among them

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Alex Azar II
Alex Azar

The past 3 years were marked by historic accomplishments that put HHS in a strong position to tackle the challenges that lie ahead, HHS Secretary Alex Azar II said at a speech to his employees Thursday.

The previous achievements and upcoming issues revolve around three main themes: facilitating patient-centered markets in health care, protecting lives, and promoting independence, the Secretary added.

‘We’re winning’

Some of the accomplishments that Azar discussed included:

However, progress in the fight against America’s ongoing opioid epidemic was perhaps the most remarkable achievement for HHS, according to Azar.

“At long last, in 2018, we began to see results on the most important number of all,” he said. “For the first time in more than 2 decades, the number of drug overdose deaths declined by 4%, helping American life expectancy rise for the first time in 4 years. We’re winning because our strategy is working. The number of Americans receiving medication-assisted treatment has increased by 41% from 2016 until now. Since January 2017, the estimated total amount of opioids prescribed in America declined by 32%.”

We have our work cut out for us’

“In the year to come, and the 5 years I hope I have ahead, we have our work cut out for us,” Azar said. “We have lots to do — but the entire HHS family should be very proud of what we’ve accomplished so far.” – by Janel Miller

Disclosure: Azar reports no relevant financial disclosures.