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Coverage for pre-existing conditions: 'How is that not the highest priority"

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MADISON, Wis. - Health care is on the minds of many in Wisconsin, especially Rhonda Gaudreau, who is starting treatments for ovarian cancer Friday.

"I am in the best place I can possibly be with it," Gaudreau said. "I was granted time I wasn't supposed to have."

Gaudreau was first diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer in 2014. After treatments, she spent two years in remission. But the cancer is back.

"Yes, I should respond as well as I responded before, but sometimes cancer gets smarter, and it learns how to fight," she said.

Gaudreau is one of an estimated 2.4 million people in Wisconsin with a pre-existing condition. She said she is lucky to be covered, but she also knows many people worry one day they won't be.

"Most everyone I know has a pre-existing condition -- asthma, HPV -- you name it. So once you start to draw the line on what will be covered, from a pre-existing condition perspective, who’s going to be covered?" Gaudreau asked.

"How is that not the highest priority for our government? I really struggle to understand that."

Currently, insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions is guaranteed under the national Affordable Care Act. But News 3 asked the candidates for governor what they would do if that were to change.

“Everyone with pre-existing conditions in Wisconsin is already covered. If something were to change, Scott Walker would call a special session in a heartbeat and get it passed," said Brian Reisinger, a spokesman for Gov. Scott Walker.

The campaign for Walker's Democratic challenger, Tony Evers, sent the following statement to News 3: "Tony, a cancer survivor, is committed to making sure that the 2.4 million Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions keep the protections they have today and stay on their health care." He's also challenging Walker to drop support for a lawsuit that would repeal the Affordable Care Act.

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