LANSING -- Curtis Wilson has been waiting a year-and-a-half to see a doctor about replacing his ostomy bags.
"Between us, we spent eight hours on the phone one day, until they finally gave me a gynecologist -- which I obviously don't need," he told News 10 on Wednesday, the same day the Supreme Court heard arguments about the Affordable Care Act's planned expansion of Medicaid benefits in 2014.
The father of two is on Medicaid, and says only one doctor in Ingham County will accept new patients under his current plan.
That doctor has a full schedule.
And in the meantime, Wilson is running low on bags.
"I added it up. Out of the pocket, everything's about $235-$250 a month if I buy just the bare-minimum stuff," he said.
Wilson isn't alone. Medicaid patients across the country struggle to find a doctor. The reason -- many physicians say the reimbursement rates for Medicaid are simply too low.
"When physicians are getting many, many dollars below what it cost them to provide a service, they will only do it for so long," says Jan Hudson with the Michigan League for Human Services.
She notes Medicaid recipients have an especially tough time finding specialists and dentists -- leading many to simply show up at emergency rooms when push comes to shove.
Nationally, it's estimated that just two-thirds of doctors will accept new Medicaid patients.
Under President Obama's plan, reimbursement rates would increase in order to attract more doctors into the system.
"The increase in the Affordable Care Act that is mandates for primary care services will bring the provider rates for primary care up to Medicare levels," Hudson explains.
That incentive will be needed with another 16 million people due to become eligible under the sweeping health care law.
Conservative Supreme Court justices on Wednesday indicated they might strike down that Medicaid expansion because it "coerces" states.
Proponents of the law have noted the federal government would pay for 100 percent of the costs of new Medicaid patients in the first year in the plan, eventually phased down to 90 percent.
The Supreme Court is expected to give its ruling in late June or early July.