President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday designed to reform the nation's kidney treatment industry and save the U.S. government millions of dollars, administration officials said.
The executive order will create new payment models to encourage more kidney transplants and give incentives to seek dialysis treatment at home instead of at more expensive treatment centers, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on a call with reporters.
The administration is pushing for the development of artificial kidneys and earlier diagnosis of kidney disease. Federal health officials aim to double the number of available kidneys, including artificial, by 2030, Azar said. Under the order, the administration says it will also streamline and expedite the process of kidney matching in order to help increase transplants.
"Today, we're taking groundbreaking action to bring new hope to millions of Americans suffering from Kidney disease," Trump said in a speech in Washington later Wednesday morning. "In a few moments, I'll sign an executive order taking vital steps to increase the supply of kidney available transplants."
About 30 million U.S. adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease and most are not diagnosed, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Treating the disease cost Medicare more than $110 billion a year, according to government data.
Shares of DaVita and Fresenius Medical Care, which operate more than 5,000 dialysis clinics in the U.S., fell on early reports of Trump's executive order. The stocks were higher midmorning Wednesday but are still lower for the week.
The executive order comes two days after a federal judge in Washington, D.C., dealt a blow to the Trump administration by striking down a rule that would have forced pharmaceutical companies to disclose the list price of their drugs in television ads.
It also follows Trump's executive order last month that directs the Department of Health and Human Services to require hospitals and insurers to disclose negotiated rates for services, as well as provide patients with out-of-pocket prices before their procedures.
High health-care costs have become a rare bipartisan issue with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle demanding changes. Trump, who is seeking reelection, has made lowering prices for consumers one of the key issues of his administration as health care remains a top subject for voters in the 2020 elections.