About 37 million adults suffer from chronic kidney failure, and this costs Medicare $113 billion. As many as 700,000 patients are in the end-stage, waiting for a transplant and needing regular dialysis. As a result, one out of five dollars is spent on complications coming from renal disease.
President Donald Trump addressed the problem with decisive action by signing an executive order that will bring significant changes.
In the next five to ten years, the focus will be on building a solid basis for the future dealing with the problem. The main points will be:
- Prevention and early diagnostics. Monitoring general health conditions and diseases that can develop into kidney diseases.
- Transplantation. Shorten the waiting periods and widen the donor basis internationally.
- Finances. Make elaborate plans with precise points in making the payment system more effective. Doctors should be incentivized for their efforts to treat kidney patients, staving off end-stage disease by about six months; also, for preparing patients for early transplant before the need for dialysis sets in.
One of the main objectives is to empower Medicare to provide patients with dialysis at their homes. For the time being, only 12% of the American kidney patients have that option, while in Guatemala, that number reaches 56%, and in Hong Kong, as much as 95%.
The economic changes are to be implemented through Medicare’s innovation center, created under the previous Obama administration. By the words coming from Alex M. Azar II, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the new administration retains its stern view on the Act (Affordable Care Act), considering it a failure and trying to build a whole new vision of people’s medical needs being met through adequate and responsible funding.
According to Azar, President Trump’s executive order is only one instance in a much broader vision of health care. They are addressing HIV (AIDS), pediatric cancer, kidney care, maternal mortality, and they intend to work with world health care professionals. They are aiming to combine affordability, control, and quality, getting “better health care at a lower cost.”