WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — In a ceremony on Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed a new executive order outlining steps to improve kidney health for thousands of Americans.
Nancy Scott, a retired nurse, told the president how a failing kidney changed her life forever.
“I was on dialysis for seven years. I had to receive chemo and radiation,” she said. “I’m living proof that dialysis does not mean the end of your life.”
Scott says after years of waiting, she finally received a kidney transplant eight years ago.
“Every day, 10 of our fellow citizens die waiting,” Trump said Wednesday.
The president’s executive order seeks to make kidney transplants more readily available and get more Americans off waiting lists sooner.
The administration also plans to remove obstacles for living donors “by granting them reimbursement for extra expenses associated with organ donations such as lost wages and child care,” according to Trump.
For Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, the issue hits close to home.
“My father had end-stage renal disease,” Azar said. “I got to see kidney transplantation because through the incredible generosity of a living donor, he received a kidney transplant.”
Azar says the executive order will also encourage early diagnosis and create opportunities for at-home dialysis.
“We spend over $110 billion every year on kidney care in Medicare. That’s more than we spend on NIH, Department of Homeland Security and NASA,” said Joe Grogan, assistant to the president and director of the Domestic Policy Council.
Grogan says despite the huge amount of money spent on treating the disease, the nation doesn’t get the outcomes it deserves.
Trump said he’s determined to create the best treatment in the world.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says kidney disease is the ninth-leading cause of death in the country.