Representative Bruce Hunter (D-Des Moines) blamed homophobic bigotry for the bill.

“Nobody should be denied that care just because of who they are,” he said. “Sexual reassignment surgery isn’t special health care, it’s regular health care that many transgender people need not only for their health but in many instances their very lives.”

Hunter said transgender health care is life saving.

“But in my opinion, Republicans care more about ideologies than saving lives because the mass homophobia that seems to blanket the Republican Party,” Hunter said. “Health care will be denied to the transgender community.”

He said the only way to assure transgender people who receive Medicaid can have access to the same essential care as anyone else is by rejecting this “hateful regulation.”

Hunter acknowledged more than half of transgender male teens report attempting suicide. He said 29.6 percent of transgender female teens say they attempted suicide. The general public’s percentage is 4.6 percent.

He said the issue is about life.

“Yet the majority party would deny that coverage,” Hunter said. “Republicans do not seem to care about discrimination. You seem intent on doing everything you can to deny the basic human rights of the LGBTQ-plus community, even at the cost of a life. This legislation is offensive on its face and it is based on harmful stereotypes and homophobic attitudes.”

Hunter accused Republicans of telling an entire group of people that they are second-class citizens.

“I just don’t understand how a political party can be so hateful,” he said. “Thankfully you do not have the final say. That’s the role of the supreme court. Court rulings in and of themselves don’t change how people think or feel about others. Real changes happens when people get to know people who are unlike themselves and in doing so accept them as people. Today proves that the Republican Party is not there yet.”