There’s never enough “good” stories about athletes, so today we bring something that will warm your heart … thanks to Shaq. Shaquille O’Neal is planning to open a free children’s hospital in Baton Rouge. Details after the jump…
O’Neal has announced plans for a new venture: a children’s hospital that would not charge families unable to pay for care. From Cody Worsham for Tiger Rag (via SLAM):
It was a spur of the moment declaration from Dr. O’Neal, who was addressing the media ahead of his induction into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday, June 29.
“I wasn’t supposed to announce this, but I’m going to do it anyway,” Dr. O’Neal said. “I had a talk with the powers that be in Baton Rouge, and my plan is to build a Shaquille O’Neal children’s hospital. That’s my plan, so that right now is in the works, and hopefully it gets done. ”
Dr. O’Neal said the idea has been discussed for two years, and his goal is to join with Our Lady of the Lake “to build the biggest, freest hospital in the state of Louisiana.”
“All sick children can come for free,” he said. “That’s my vision.” [...]
Dr. O’Neal’s announcement couldn’t come at a better time for Louisiana. Faced with budget shortfalls, the state has cut funding to hospitals by $260 million dollars in recent years, according to testimony by House Speaker Chuck Kleckley during the legislative session in May.
Such funding cuts have led Gov. Bobby Jindal — who has continued to reject federal Medicaid expansion that would provide the state more immediate dollars under the Affordable Care Act, citing the law’s inflexibility — to seek private sources of funding for many of the state’s public hospitals.