by Evie Fordham
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday morning that he called “groundbreaking action” on treating kidney disease, including through organ transplants.
“Many, many people are dying while they wait,” Trump said. “We’ll do everything we can to increase the supply, and we’ll be able to do that very substantially … getting Americans off these wait lists.”
Chronic kidney disease affects an estimated 37 million U.S. adults. The Trump administration’s plan emphasizes transplants over dialysis as a more cost-effective solution for patients. Trump said the initiative includes “very substantially incentivizing” organ donation to offset costs to donors like child care and lost wages, as well as revising rules governing organ procurement organizations to “ensure available kidneys reach waiting patients as quickly as possible.”
The federal government expends more than $100 billion a year on kidney transplants and treatment, reported Politico.
The plan includes treating patients at home in an attempt to cut costs and trying to catch kidney disease earlier with better screening. Roughly 12 percent of people begin dialysis treatment at home, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
On the prevention front, nine out of 10 adults with chronic kidney disease do not know they have it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dialysis centers are a big business in the U.S., reported revenue of roughly $24 billion in 2018 according to Politico. DaVita and Fresenius are two of the power players in that arena.
The focus on preventing and treating kidney disease comes after several people with close ties to the administration have suffered from kidney-related conditions. First lady Melania Trump underwent surgery for a “benign kidney condition” in May 2018. In addition, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar’s father underwent a kidney transplant, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services innovation chief Adam Boehler’s aunt died from kidney disease, reported Politico.
“I saw how burdensome kidney disease can be and how important it is to give patients more options,” Azar said Wednesday ahead of the signing.
DaVita did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment at the time of publication.
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Evie Fordham is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation.