President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday aiming to help the millions of people who suffer from kidney diseases every year, the first such order focusing on kidney disease since the 1970s. Many mocked the president for a comment he made after signing the order which made it seem as if he didn’t know where the kidneys were located or what they do.


“Today we are taking groundbreaking action to bring new hope to millions of Americans suffering from kidney disease,” Trump said. “So many things don’t get done in government, but now we are getting them done.”

He then said that “the kidney has a very special place in the heart,” which prompted critics to believe that the president thought the kidney was located in the heart.

The first goal of Trump’s new executive order is to increase awareness of kidney disease so as to better detect it in its early stages. By some estimates, 96% of those with kidney damage aren’t aware of the issue, preventing them from taking action to fix their body before the problem grows worse. The Trump administration aims to reduce the number of end-stage renal patients with kidney failure by 25% by 2030.

The second goal of the order is to provide more and more affordable treatment options for those suffering from end-stage renal disease. Part of the government’s plan to decrease the price of kidney treatment is to offer a new Medicare payment structure that would encourage more in-home dialysis care instead of forcing patients to go to centers. Those receiving hemodialysis at a center have to spend around 12 hours a week there, making it difficult to hold a job, which disproportionately affects those who are already hurt the most by expensive medical procedures.

The third and final goal of the executive order was to double the number of kidneys available for transplant by 2030. There are currently 100,000 Americans on the waiting list for kidney transplants, and the mortality rate of the disease makes it the ninth highest cause of death in the United States. The executive order will create new payment models that will incentivize treatment centers to modernize their organ transplantation programs and technology. It will also call on the Department of Health and Human Services to increase benefits for living kidney donors such as paying for childcare and lost wages.

The president of the National Kidney Foundation, Dr. Holly Kramer, called the executive order “a major win in the battle against kidney disease.”

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