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Meers Owner: Obamacare Forced Prices Up

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COMANCHE CO., Okla_ The Meers burger is known far and wide, winning awards and fame for its taste and size.

However, on Oct. 1, the local landmark feared that it would have to downsize its claim to fame. The Affordable Healthcare Act caused one of the restaurant's vendors to stop making the oversized buns. Without the bun, Owner Joe Maranto feared he would have to remove his most popular item from the menu.

To Maranto, the blame falls at the feet of Obamacare. A little over a month ago, it forced a majority of the restaurants' suppliers to up their costs and make drastic changes to their business; the most detrimental being the end of the big hamburger buns that make the Meers burger possible. So now, these cards are on every table explaining the struggle to keep the Meers burger and his livelihood alive.

"We have been using their buns for the better part of seven years and never had a problem," Maranto said.

Their bakery was forced to cut back its labor force and stop making the oversized buns. Refusing to give up the fight, Maranto looked to a local business. That's when he found that Johnson's Bakery could make an even better bun, but it would cost him.

"Our buns went up 40 cents per bun," Maranto said. "Now, they are costing me 63 cents."

The problems didn't stop there. He was also forced buy a $3,000 bun slicer, so he spread the cost throughout his menu. Now, people are spending less.

"The average person would come in and buy a Meers burger and sides. That cost would be $10," Maranto said. "Now, it's about $7."

While hamburger buns seem like a minor thing, they are big part of Meers' business. That's why he placed these cards at every table: to show how a big issue in Washington is also causing big problems in the town of Meers. Maranto said he's not backing down.

"No idiot in Washington, D.C. is going to tell me I am making too much money," Maranto said. "If they want to take this place, they will find a pile of ashes. They are not going to get it."

Maranto said there were other bun options out there, but he was not willing to jeopardize quality. Monday, patrons confirmed that they are willing to pay the extra to keep the tradition of the Meers burger alive.



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