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Subsidies for dubious ‘natural’ therapies to end

The Federal Government plans to dump rebates for natural and alternative therapies that have no proven medical benefit, in a move welcomed by AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton. The Government has asked Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Baggoley, to conduct an eight-month clinial review of natural therapies, beginning in July.

09 May 2012

The Federal Government plans to dump rebates for natural and alternative therapies that have no proven medical benefit, in a move welcomed by AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton.

The Government has asked Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Baggoley, to conduct an eight-month clinial review of natural therapies, beginning in July.

Those not found to be medically effective will no longer qualify for the 30 per cent private health insurance rebate from 1 July, 2013.

Private health insurers currently pay out about $90 million a year for treatments the government considers suspect, and making them ineligible for the rebate could potentially save taxpayers around $30 million.

Therapies seen as most likely to be dumped include aromatherapy, ear candling, crystal therapy, homeopathy, iridology, kinesiology, reiki and rolfing.

Dr Hambleton told the Weekend West newspaper that the rebate for such treatments deserved scrutiny.

“We don’t see why there should be a government subsidy for any therapies that don’t have reasonable scientific evidence that they work better than a placebo,” he said.

But the review will not include Medicare services and therapies regulated under a national accrediation scheme, such as acupuncture, osteopathy, Chinese medicine and dietetics

AR


Published: 09 May 2012