There is a story that is believed to be true, but has been proven to false, but still illustrates this topic very nicely. Back in the early days of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union, NASA spent millions of dollars designing a pen that could write in the zero gravity of space. What did the Soviets do? They used a pencil.
While the story has proven to be fiction rather than fact, the idea of looking at a problem and creatively trying to find an answer that might not be the most obvious is an incredibly useful trait.
One surgeon in Nebraska has built his own version of the pencil for patients who are not able to pay their medical bills. Rather than send the bills to collections, he sends the patients ([Medical bills: Nebraska doctor lets patients pay for surgery with volunteer service - CBS News](https://www.cbsnews.com/news/medical-bills-nebraska-doctor-lets-patients-pay-for-surgery-with-volunteer-service)) to a local community organization where the patients put in time volunteering to work off their debts. One patient was allowed to work off about $20,000 in debt by volunteering for 560 hours. He could work them himself or have others volunteer on his behalf.
With the political logjam in Washington and the healthcare industry, insurance industry, presidential candidates, the federal government, and everyone else fighting over the best way to address the healthcare crisis in America, two things are certain. One is that a solution in a wide scale is likely not anywhere in the near future. Two is that it will take ideas like the one from the Nebraskan surgeon to really change the way that healthcare is financed and paid for in this country.
Ideas are what will spur the change that is needed to finally find a long-term solution to the problems plaguing the healthcare industry. Thinking outside of the box and not being afraid to try new ideas are what ultimately will bring the change that is needed. The assembly line was a revolutionary idea that ushered in a new era for manufacturing. Your smartphone, the lights in your house, and shoes on your feet were once ideas that were considered to be radical. But society saw the value and importance that each of those ideas and they are now things we take for granted on a regular basis.
Figuring out a way to get healthcare costs under control may not seem like such a revolutionary development, but putting money back into the wallets of everyday Americans and reducing the anxiety they feel over how much healthcare costs (https://news.gallup.com/poll/248081/westhealth-gallup-us-healthcare-cost-crisis.aspx) could be the single most important development of this century.
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