Sneed: Cook County jail inmates sign on to Obamacare

Written By By Michael Sneed Posted: 03/12/2014, 02:16am
Array Cook County Jail inmates | Sun-Times Library

Jail power . . .

Sneed has learned 2,629 former Cook County Jail inmates who signed up for Obamacare — and filled out their applications while in jail — now have insurance cards!

◆ Translation: Prisons nationwide are becoming a major repository for Obamacare sign-ups because it allows states to extend coverage to a big part of the jail population: Single adults without kids.

◆ Upshot: “The hope is to reduce recidivism,” a Cook County Jail source said of the enrollment program, which is a joint effort between the jail and the Cook County Health System. “So many inmates are either mentally ill or substance abusers with no health insurance — and if they have health insurance when they leave the jail system, maybe they’ll not return because they’ve gotten the health care/treatment they needed.”

◆ Stat chat: Sneed hears as of March 6, 2014:

◆ Number of prisoners screened: 53,332

◆ Number of applications initiated: 13,728

◆ Number of applications submitted: 4,862

Obama drama . . .

Dateline: The “Throne” room at the White House . . . Now comes word President Barack Obama already has season four of the hit HBO series “Game of Thrones.”

◆ Translation: The rest of the world will have to wait until April 6 to find out what happens next in the medieval fantasy.

The Daley schmooze . . .

Sneed hears former Mayor Rich Daley, who is now quietly out and about locally with close pals, is still working on his verbal skills since suffering a stroke earlier this year.

“It impacted Rich’s speech more than anything, but it’s much better,” said a Daley source.

Sneed is also told Rich’s eldest daughter, Nora Conroy, is making sure her dad follows doctors’ rehab orders.

◆ Translation: David Flom, owner of the uber-popular Chicago Cut Steakhouse, tells Sneed the former mayor and his brothers have decided not to host their annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the eatery this year. A member of the Daley clan tells Sneed they may have scratched it this year — “but will probably do it every other year from now on.” Meanwhile, Sneed hears Daley just headed to Palm Springs last week for a brief vacation.

Bait & switch . . .

Whoa!!! Sneed hears there’s been a new infusion of last-ditch cash to GOP gubernatorial hopeful and state Sen. Kirk Dillard’s campaign.

Watch for Dillard, who is second to opponent Bruce Rauner in the GOP primary polls, to shell out big bucks this week to buy “positive” TV ads based on a new infusion of $400,000 smackeroos from a conglomerate of unions who despise “anti-union” Rauner, according to a top GOP source. The campaign is poised to report the money to the state Board of Elections, the source added.

◆ The kicker: “The ads will be purchased at a lower rate via contributions from anti-Bruce Rauner unions, which decided to pull the plug on moving forward with more negative Rauner TV ads,” said the source.

◆ The reason: “The unions decided to retool their strategy to get Rauner out of the race by giving a cash-strapped, pro-union Dillard a push in the polls before the primary next week,” the source said.

Royal rantings . . .

Is Prince Harry considering marriage?

The Brit royal press are beside themselves with whispers that randy Harry, 29, is planning to take his upper-class girlfriend, Cressida Bonas, to Balmoral Castle this summer.

Is this a prelude to a formal engagement announcement?

It would be the 25-year-old dancer’s first visit to the Queen’s Scottish retreat, a 50,000-acre estate where Prince William took Kate Middleton a month before they were engaged.

Sneedlings . . .

Liza Minnelli, 68; Aaron Eckhart, 46, and Darryl Strawberry, 52.

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