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Trump signs executive order to revamp care for kidney disease

President Trump is delivering a speech and signing an executive order to advance kidney health in America, a somewhat offbeat topic for him to address. The president is delivering the speech at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in D.C. 

Specifically, Mr. Trump's executive order directs the federal government to revamp the nation's care for kidney disease, so that more people whose kidneys fail have a chance at early transplants and home dialysis — along with better prevention so patients don't get that sick to begin with. 

"The kidney, very special, the kidney has a very special place in the heart. It's an incredible thing," the president told his audience. The people that have to go this - people that have loved ones that are working so hard to stay alive they have to work so hard. There's an espirit de corps, there's a spirit like you see rarely on anything."

The topic of kidneys has a personal connection for the president. First Lady Melania Trump was hospitalized at Walter Reed Medical Center for several days in May 2018 for what the White House described as a benign kidney condition. 

The executive order the president signed calls for strategies that have the potential to save lives and Medicare dollars. But that won't happen immediately — some of the initiatives will require new regulations, which have a process. 

The president's address on kidney health comes as his administration faces intense scrutiny over the president's past friendship with indicted billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, and Labor Secretary Alex Acosta's handling of a past case involving Epstein. Epstein's latest arrest over sex trafficking charges have renewed criticism of Acosta, and shed light on Mr. Trump's past interactions with Epstein. Mr. Trump told reporters Tuesday he approves of Acosta's job as labor secretary, but also claimed his administration will be looking very "carefully" at Acosta's handling of the previous Epstein case. 

Acosta is holding a news briefing at 2:30 p.m. at the Department of Labor.