Hospitals in the United States charge patients as much as 1,800% more than their costs amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study. This article first appeared in Salon. The 100 most expensive hospitals in the United States charge between $1,129 and $1,808 for every $100 of their costs, according to a study by National Nurses United, the largest nurses union in the country. Overall, hospitals across the US charge an average of $417 for every $100 of their costs. The average markup has more than doubled over the past two decades, according to the report. TAKE THE POLL: Will you take a coronavirus vaccine when it's available? The markups have resulted in hospital profits skyrocketing by 411% from 1999 to 2017, hitting a record $88 billion. “The rise in charges coincides with growing hospital mergers and acquisitions by large systems,” the union said in a news release. “The result is increased market consolidation, which leads to higher profits and increased charges, not savings for patients as hospital systems often claim.” Medical workers worry that high costs will increase the number of people avoiding medical care. “There is no excuse for these scandalous prices. These are not markups for luxury condo views, they are for the most basic necessity of your life: your health,” nurse Jean Ross, the president of the union, said in a statement. “Unpayable charges are a calamity for our patients, too many of whom avoid— at great risk to their health — the medical care they need due to the high cost, or they become burdened by devastating debt, hounded by bill collectors or driven into bankruptcy.” The union warned that “high hospital charges also drive up Covid-19 treatment costs.” A study by the health care data nonprofit FAIR Health in the spring found that uninsured coronavirus patients or those that receive care considered out-of-network by their insurer face costs ranging from $42,486 to $74,310 if they require inpatient hospital treatment. A survey by the health care research group the Commonwealth Fund also found that more than two-thirds of Americans say that “potential out-of-pocket costs would be very or somewhat important in their decision to seek care if they had symptoms of the coronavirus.” While insurers often negotiate prices with hospitals, uninsured patients have little recourse. And as with other health care and coronavirus-related disparities, people of color are disproportionately impacted. Latinos are nearly three times as likely and Black people are nearly twice as likely to be uninsured than white Americans, according to a study from the Kaiser Family Foundation. The National Nurses United report argued that the findings further make the case for a Medicare for All system because Medicare is the “most effective” system to limit price gouging.