From Monday changes to the Medicare rebate will see people pay $20 more for some visits to the doctor.
The rebate on a GP visit of less than 10 minutes will be cut from $37.05 to $16.95.
GPs say they will not be able to absorb this shortfall and will have to pass it onto patients.
Dr Carl Grace runs two large bulk billing practices in regional Victoria.
He said he would have no choice but to start charging patients a fee, a move which he said would increase the pressure on overcrowded hospital emergency departments.
GPs are angrier about this proposal than they were back in May with the original budget proposal; they feel insulted.
Dr Brian Owler, AMA president,
“My practices in Geelong and Ballarat are probably bigger than most practices out in the suburbs,” he said.
“[They are] incredibly expensive to run because we’re right in the middle of the city opposite the hospital.
“And to reduce me from $37 to $16.95 … of course I’ll go broke.
“I wouldn’t be able to pay for the surgery, I’d have to stop bulk billing. It will mean the end of bulk billing.”
Dr Grace’s practices take a lot of referrals from the emergency departments (EMDs) at Geelong Hospital and Ballarat Hospital.
“They send down minor problems and we see them,” he said.
“That will stop, because if we’re charging, they will stay in EMD, so the EMD departments that are overcrowded at the moment, they will not be able to cope.”
Hobart GP Graeme Alexander is warning his patients about the impending change with posters displayed throughout his medical centre.