Will ObamaCare be the Grinch that steals Christmas?

Will rollout hurt holiday shopping?


This is a rush transcript from "Your World" November 20, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: In the meantime, government be damned, shoppers opening up their wallets in October despite the shutdown, despite all these concerns about the ObamaCare rollout. But will that continue? Or will ObamaCare be the Grinch that ultimately steals Christmas?

Well, Jerry Storch, the former CEO of Toys 'R' Us, here on that.

What do you make of this, Jerry, that this premium thing, the shock that people are getting, is going to impact their holiday shopping plans?

JERRY STORCH, FORMER CEO, TOYS 'R' US: Well, I don't think there is any way that this whole experience with the health care act won't affect shopping.

First of all, the debacle with the website, which everyone agrees, it's a parable showing that government really has trouble accomplishing anything, that businesses every day, have always operated web ites, and done so without this kind of problem.

CAVUTO: Would you have fired people for this, if this happened in the days when you were running the largest toy retailer?


STORCH: Well, it wouldn't happen this way, whether it's there.

Or I started a web ite a long time ago. Along with Al Gore and I, we started the Internet together. I started from scratch quite a while ago. You plan these things out months and months in advance. You test them very thoroughly, test, test, test.

CAVUTO: Well, they had three years to work on this.

STORCH: You never get to the point of launch without knowing that it's going to work. There's no possibility that it won't. People would have stayed up nights and weekends to make it happens. That is what happened in -- in private enterprise.

CAVUTO: So, the president saying that he was unaware of this?

STORCH: It's not -- not -- not -- again, whether he is aware of it or not, it's not believable that someone wasn't aware of it.

I think we have a very strong civil service in our country. The problem is that political appointees are in all the top positions. And there is one thing, whether the Web site works or not, you know, that's yes or no. You can't sort of B.S. your way through that. You know, you can't bluff it.

CAVUTO: It's not like being a TV anchor.


STORCH: You turn it on, it works or it doesn't. The bigger problem for...


CAVUTO: Well...


STORCH: I'm sorry

CAVUTO: Well, how do you notice that? When you have a website going with -- and as you did later on at Toys 'R' Us, how do you -- who did you hire for that? People who are I guess -- I assume, good I.T. people. Right?

STORCH: Look, there are people in high schools all over the country building websites that work.

And even big, big old American corporations eventually have figured out how to operate great websites. There are experts outside. There are experts inside. You test, test, test, test, and test it again. You know, you freeze all retail systems, for example, in September, before you even get to the holiday season, because you don't want a chance of any glitches. It has got to be done by then or it goes to the next year.

This kind of thing simply shouldn't -- shouldn't happen. And it undermines the confidence in government. The bigger problem, though, with health care is the lack of confidence people have right now in what's going to happen.

So, most people have figured out that you can't add all this stuff without someone paying for it, right? Whether it's going to be the individual paying for it through higher premiums or whether we're all going to pay for it through higher taxes. But you can't extend essentially universal health care and have this noxious -- noxious public-private hybrid and make it work the way that they thought it could work and it's going to cost nothing?

Take -- take the one issue that you raised, preexisting conditions earlier.

CAVUTO: Right.

STORCH: If you want to cover preexisting conditions, that may be a very noble enterprise, very noble endeavor. A lot of people agree with that. But you have to pay for that. It's not free.

To call that insurance, that's like calling it buying insurance after the tornado already destroyed your house.

CAVUTO: You can with this, by the way.

STORCH: But you have to find a way to pay for that if you are going to do it.

CAVUTO: No one apparently broached that.

STORCH: Well, I -- I don't know. I think no one wanted to say, you had to raise taxes.

I have looked at this. You know, most places who had universal health care coverage, they do it through socialized medicine. And no one wanted to do that in the U.S., so we sort of pretended our way through this, that you could do it.

CAVUTO: Well, we might go there anyway now. We might go there anyway now.

STORCH: It could be the inevitable outcome.

CAVUTO: Jerry Storch, thank you very much. Very good seeing you again.

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