Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Hundreds of hospitals are suing the Department of Health and Human Services, claiming in a pair of lawsuits that they've been shortchanged on Medicare payments.

Why it matters: Medicare is full of highly technical payment policies that change every year, and hospitals are trying to recoup billions of taxpayer dollars in these cases.

Details: Both lawsuits were filed this week.

  • Lawsuit #1: A group of more than 600 hospitals argued HHS illegally allowed a 0.7% cut to inpatient services to continue in 2018 and 2019 when it should've stopped, by law, in 2017. They said the cuts cost the industry $840 million, and they want that money back, plus interest.
  • Lawsuit #2: Dozens of hospitals are saying HHS is not abiding by a recent Supreme Court decision that said the federal government was incorrectly calculating supplemental Medicare payments that help hospitals that treat larger numbers of low-income patients. Hospitals contend they are owed at least $4 billion in underpayments.

Between the lines: Hospitals have not been shy lately to use the courts as a vehicle to halt payment policies they believe are unlawful.

  • But most hospital systems, which have consolidated heavily over the years, have remained financially strong despite these cuts and alleged underpayments.

Go deeper

Updated 25 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 11,288,094 — Total deaths: 531,244 — Total recoveries — 6,075,489Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 2,839,917 — Total deaths: 129,676 — Total recoveries: 894,325 — Total tested: 34,858,427Map.
  3. States: Photos of America's pandemic July 4 ICU beds in Arizona hot spot near capacity.
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Trump extends PPP application deadlineKimberly Guilfoyle tests positive.
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: 31 MLB players test positive as workouts resume.
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.

Trump's failing culture wars

Data: Google; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

President Trump built his political brand by stoking the nation's culture wars, but search data is showing us how much harder it's been for him to replicate that success while running against another white man in his 70s — and while there's a coronavirus pandemic.

The big picture: Google Trends data shows Trump's "Sleepy Joe" name-calling isn't generating nearly the buzz "Crooked Hillary" (or "Little Marco") did in 2016. Base voters who relished doubting President Obama's birth certificate aren't questioning Biden's.

16 hours ago - Health

15 states broke single-day coronavirus records this week

Data: Compiled from state health departments by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

At least 15 states broke their single-day novel coronavirus infection records this week, according to state health department data reviewed by Axios.

The big picture: The number of coronavirus cases increased in the vast majority of states over the last week, and decreased in only two states plus the District of Columbia, Axios' Andrew Withershoop and Caitlin Owens report.