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Wisconsin race for governor gets personal over pre-existing conditions

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The battle over health care coverage is taking center stage in the race for governor. 

On Monday, Democrat Tony Evers called on Governor Walker to drop out of a lawsuit he authorized to scrap the Affordable Care Act. Walker says if the lawsuit succeeds he would call an emergency special session to protect coverage for pre-existing conditions at the state level. 

Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch says she was right in the middle of her first ever campaign.

"I had two little girls, ages four and seven."

She heard the news two weeks before election day.

"You have cancer," Kleefisch said.

Tony Evers is a rare survivor of esophageal cancer and released a video Monday urging Gov. Scott Walker to stop a lawsuit he authorized that would outlaw the Affordable Care Act.

"If you want to protect the millions of Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions, drop Wisconsin from this lawsuit today," Evers said

The lawsuit was brought by a group of Republican attorney generals, including Wisconsin's Brad Schimel. Walker says if it succeeds, he will find another way to protect pre-existing conditions.

"People with pre-existing conditions here in Wisconsin are always going to be covered, as long as the governor and I are in office," Kleefisch said.

Marquette Professor Philip Rocco wrote the book "Obamacare Wars," and says winning the lawsuit would be problematic for Walker.

"It's a bit like putting a gun to your own head."

Rocco says to keep things the same, state's would have to spend tax dollars themselves on pre-existing conditions because federal subsidies would be gone.

"For a lot of states. Especially states that have issues with the budget. That's going to be a heavy lift."

The state assembly passed a bill to guarantee coverage for pre-existing conditions earlier this year. Kleefisch says if they have to, she's confident they could get that bill through the Senate and into law.

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