Let’s Keep Health Fund Cover for Natural Therapies!
At the moment, the Australian government provides a rebate to keep down the cost of belonging to a health fund. However, they are considering stripping the rebate from any policies covering “unproven” natural therapies.
The Federal Government View
The Department of Health has recently published the Review of the Australian Government Rebate on Natural Therapies for Private Health Insurance. The review was established to determine whether or not natural therapies should continue to receive the Government Rebate on private health insurance. The final report stated that:
‘Overall, there was not reliable, high-quality evidence available to allow assessment of the clinical effectiveness of any of the natural therapies for any health conditions. … The absence of evidence does not in itself mean that the therapies evaluated do or do not work.’
The report confirms that ‘there is value in conducting more research’ and ‘it is possible that further research may identify clinical conditions for which particular therapies are effective’. The background and the final report are available here.
We believe that the statement that there is not enough evidence supporting natural therapies treatments is incorrect, and ignores the great work natural medicine plays in correcting (and preventing!) a huge variety of health problems.
Also, if acupuncture is not effective, why is it covered by Medicare and WorkCover when performed by a doctor, and sometimes by a physio, chiropractor or osteopath (but not by a qualified acupuncturist)?
There is also ample evidence supporting other natural therapies, such as herbs and practitioner supplements, for various conditions. However, we do agree that the level of funding for research in natural therapies is very low.
Let the Government Know What You Think
To gauge public feeling on these and other changes, they have set up a Public Consultation survey. If you believe that natural therapies can help people who have health problems or are in pain, now is the perfect opportunity to let the government know that they should be supported.
Please click here to go to the survey.
Please also consider sharing the survey with your family and friends, as this will help the government clearly hear about the vital role natural medicine plays in our health. You can copy and paste the following link: