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This morning on MSNBC Live, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) announced to MSNBC anchor David Shuster that while he has been largely undecided during the healthcare debate, he will vote YES to the healthcare bill on Sunday. "I am satisfied that the bill has moved a great deal towards the House bill in terms of compensating my state and doing the right thing for health care," said Rep. Engel. "So I determined this morning -- and this is the first time I'm announcing it -- that I will vote for the bill."

A full transcript is below. If used, please credit MSNBC.


David Schuster interviews Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY)


DAVID SHUSTER, MSNBC ANCHOR: So who exactly are these undecided democrats? I mentioned there are at least two dozen of them, some are retirees with nothing to lose, while others are facing tough races come November. A third group -- and you might even recognize one of your members in these pictures -- a third group may even have philosophical or moral differences with issues in the bill.

New York Representative Eliot Engel is one of those undecideds. He joins us from Capitol Hill.

Congressman, thanks for being with us.

REP. ELIOT ENGEL (D), NEW YORK: Well, it's my pleasure. Thanks for having me.

SHUSTER: Congressman, because of your concern about Medicare subsidies, your office had said in recent days you were inclined to vote no. The language in the final bill has addressed some of that. Is it too your satisfaction or not? And how will you vote on Sunday?

ENGEL: Well, the bill as you know was finally released yesterday afternoon. It's very, very lengthy, but I spent a good deal of the night and early morning with my staff going through the bill.

And I have are always been in favor of health care reform. I think it's something the country needs. I think it's something we need to do. My question was, how is my state and how are people that need the help treated? In the House bill that we passed, it was fair and equitable; the Senate bill was not. And when the president are said he was going to use the base Senate bill for his combined bills, I was very, very nervous, both in terms of payments that my state of New York gets, dish payments for the hospitals that need to help indigent people, and also for what's called a do-gooder states. New York was penalized under the Senate bill because we have done the right thing and provided health care for our people and the states that did not were given a windfall, and I didn't think that was fair.

Well, upon reviewing the bill, I am satisfied that the bill has moved a great deal towards the House bill in terms of compensating my state and doing the right thing for health care. So I determined this morning -- and this is the first time I'm announcing it -- that I will vote for the bill.

I think that health care reform in this country is important. If somebody loses their job or changes jobs, they need to keep their health insurance. People should not be denied health coverage because the insurance companies say they have a so-called preexisting condition, nor should they be denied health coverage with these artificial annual caps or lifetime caps where you pay your premium year in and year out and when you get sick you're told, sorry, you're not covered.

So I think that this bill takes care of all that. I think it's fair and equitable to my state. And I think it's important for the country.

SHUSTER: Congressman, I think I can hear the cheers over in the speaker's office and also down at the White House now that you've made it clear.

Are there other members of Congress that share your concerns that you think will -- that you'll be talking with today as you explain your are decision to vote for this that you think will also follow the same path?

ENGEL: Well, I do. And I also think there are people coming at it from the opposite point of view where they are very concerned about cost. And I think again, even there the Congressional Budget Office scored the bill and said that ultimately the bill will save a lot of money. It'll the bend the health care cost curve. And so I think from that point of view there are going to be members coming over.

And I agree with what was just said on your show, that when it gets this close and the leadership -- Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer -- you know, they put their prestige on the line, I think it would be disastrous if the bill was not passed. Disastrous for the country because I think the country needs health care reform. And my whole reason for it was that we now have 45 or 47 million Americans uninsured, but the current system is not sustainable and we will wind up having 60, 80, and 100 million uninsured if we sit back and do nothing.

SHUSTER: Congressman Eliot Engel --

ENGEL: So this is not a perfect bill. It goes a long way to doing what we need to do.

SHUSTER: Congressman Eliot Engel announcing just on our air right now, you heard it there, that he will vote for the bill. He is no longer undecided.

Congressman, thank you so much for breaking the news with us. We appreciate you coming on this morning. And again, put another one in the column of the democrats passing this bill. Eliot Engel moves from undecided. He will vote for this bill.

Congressman, thanks for joining us.

ENGEL: Thanks for having me, David.

SHUSTER: You're welcome.