‘Value gone’ as natural therapies cut from private health insurance rebates.
Yoga, Pilates, naturopathy, reflexology, kinesiology and homeopathy are among 16 natural therapies the Federal Government has cut from private health insurance rebates
The announcement came on October 13, 2017 as part of a Turnbull Government ‘overhaul’ to try to entice more people to join private health insurance with offers of discounted premiums specifically targeting young Australians.
But, Yoga Australia and other natural therapy groups warn the decision to cut rebates for yoga and other natural therapies will have the opposite effect and will see people cancel policies.
“People who use natural therapies are feeling robbed”, said Gerry Dendrinos of the Your Health Your Choice campaign.
Almost 50,000 people have now joined the Your Health Your Choice campaign to help protest the rebate cuts for natural therapies
The campaign, created to protect choice in healthcare, is also petitioning for a senate inquiry to scrutinise why the Government is ignoring positive evidence that natural therapies are effective.
“People are angry and they want the Government to know that this will cost them votes.”
Social media posts from Your Health Your Choice about the rebate cuts have gone viral. They have already reached more than half a million people.
Consumers flooded the site warning they will cancel their policies.
“I will cancel mine as this is why I had it.” [Deb Schwab]
“Definitely won’t hold private health insurance any longer.” [Tracey Wallace]
“We will be cancelling our cover and looking after ourselves the way we wish to.” [Sharon Boin]
“A shameful effort by our Govt.” [Catherine Sawkins]
Around 14 million Australians use some form of complementary medicine and natural therapy
Your Heath Your Choice spokesman Gerry Dendrinos, who is also Vice President of the Australian Homoeopathic Association, said Australia’s health care system would pay a hefty price for the Government’s short-sighted rebate cuts.
“This move restricts people’s choice in healthcare and strips the value from private health insurance policies”, he said. “Ordinary Australians, who claim for natural therapies – and there are millions of those – are feeling robbed.”
The Government is justifying its decision to cut the rebates on a taxpayer-funded report* that found there was no scientific evidence that 17 natural therapies from yoga to naturopathy were effective.
The report, The Review of the Australian Government Rebate on Private Health Insurance for Natural Therapies , ignores wide-spread, positive worldwide scientific evidence.
A separate report into homeopathy by the National Health and Medical Research Council also ignored positive evidence and manipulated methodology to conclude there was no ‘reliable’ evidence that homeopathy was effective.
Your Health Your Choice is calling for a senate inquiry to scrutinise the Government’s research. It will start with the report into homeopathy, which is now also the subject of a complaint to the Commonwealth Ombudsman for misconduct.
Mr Dendrinos said people deserve to know why the Australian Government is so quick to accept reports that ignore positive evidence.
He said in Switzerland the Swiss Government has made homeopathy, for example, part of the national healthcare system based on positive evidence that it works.
“Why is the Australian Government so biased against the fact that evidence exists that natural therapies are effective? Two in three Australians use some form of complementary medicine and natural therapies to support their health. We are seeing the backlash now from people who want to protect their right of choice in healthcare”, he said.
How will we afford what we rely on?
Yoga Australia president Leanne Davis said she fears that, without private health insurance cover, many people will no longer be able to afford yoga and the other therapies they have come to rely on to maintain their health.
She said many doctors refer patients to yoga practitioners to manage a wide range of health conditions.
“It is about preventative healthcare as well as helping manage disease and illness.
“It’s counter-productive that at the very time they are trying to entice more people into private health insurance, they are taking away the rebate for therapies that people use to try to stay healthy. Young people aren’t worrying about knee and hip replacements. They want rebates on their yoga and naturopathy and other natural therapies that they know work for them to stay healthy and not get sick in the first place.”
Your Health Your Choice is now Australia’s largest campaign to protect right of choice in healthcare
Mr Dendrinos said it takes a team of lawyers, lobbyists and campaign experts to take on the Government and, to continue the fight, the campaign needs help with donations**. He said the Government had only just begun its attacks on natural therapies.
“Private health insurance rebates are cut; next they are considering banning natural medicines from sale in pharmacies. And the Therapeutic Goods Administration is deciding if it will de-regulate certain natural products and supplements, placing public safety at risk. We have already seen some educational courses cut and practitioners have difficulty accessing some ingredients.”
“I hate to say it but the health insurance rebate cuts are just the beginning. That is why Your Health Your Choice is so important. People – both consumers and practitioners – need a united voice.”
The Your Health Your Choice campaign has been acknowledged by the Federal Heath Department and included on its ‘current issues’ list.
To sign the senate inquiry petition and add your voice to the fight to protect natural medicine go to www.yourhealthyourchoice.com.au. It only takes a few seconds and a letter is automatically sent on your behalf to your local MP. It let’s them know that natural therapies matter to you!
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