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No this is not a joke.

health fund rebates to be axed in 2019

I am sorry to have to tell you but the Federal Government is proposing to stop your health fund rebates for 17 different modalities including Naturopathy because of flawed research aimed at reducing the influence Natural Medicine has on your health. We know Natural Medicine has many studies proving its efficacy and you my valued patients know how much it has improved and changed not only your lives but the lives of your families.

Sign the online petition here …

The Sydney Morning Herald on 12/10/2017 reported:

“From 2019, private health insurance will no longer cover natural therapies, including aromatherapy, Bowen therapy, Buteyko, Feldenkrais, herbalism, homeopathy, iridology, kinesiology, naturopathy, Pilates, reflexology, Rolfing, shiatsu, tai chi and yoga.”

Henry Osieki one of the most respected practitioners of Natural Medicine and the founder of Orthoplex in Australia writes

“The preventative nature of natural therapies has been completely overlooked in this movement, as has the overall impact the current 26% rebate has on the Medicare system. We, as practitioners and researchers, know the positive influence natural therapies have on the population who partake in this style of intervention. They not only preserve the health of the individual, but in doing so, reduces the economic burden of healthcare in the long run.

Claims submitted for complementary medicine interventions currently account for less than one percent of all benefits paid by health funds in Australia. Consequently, we can conclude that this contribution is mirrored in the effect on the Medicare scheme

Conversely, the positive effects of natural medicine, have a much more significant contribution to the economy. Through delving deeper into underlying causes of health problems and diseases, we improve the long-term health of individuals. For the economy, this means that those individuals are less likely to submit claims on their insurance, take less time off work, and have an elevated quality of life, making them our most productive members of society.

Effective, non-invasive treatments, particularly when adopted earlier in life, have the potential to drastically reduce the pressure on the healthcare sector in both the short and long term.”

Dr Rachel David, the CEO of Private Healthcare Australia, representing 20 health insurers across Australia, echoed this sentiment in a statement in CHOICE. She stated this reduction in the rebates paid on extras policies not only makes policies immediately more expensive, but results

“in less preventative treatment being undertaken and more strain placed on the hospital system.”

Unsurprisingly, 2017 has seen a consistent downward spiral in the number of young people purchasing private health cover. Leaving only those demographics with a higher propensity to submit claims in the market, premium prices have hit an all time high, further emaciating the under 30’s market from the sector.

If you are as outraged as i am please read on….

The Health Minister Greg Hunt’s proposed 2019 changes to private health insurance rebates on Natural Therapies, include no longer covering Naturopathic and Western Herbal Medicine consultations, along with other modalities.

This decision follows a recent review by the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer which concluded there was no clear evidence of the efficacy of these therapies. As Patients of Natural Therapies you are voices for the efficacy, impact and importance of Natural Therapies. Your voices can be heard!

I now have a petition in clinic you can drop in to sign any day and there is also a link to a online petition here.

Please use your voice to share the impact Natural Therapies has had and the effect Natural Healthcare has had on your health personally.

What the government is telling you is that they want you to rely solely on your doctor and pharmaceutical drugs for your chronic disease management and is taking your choice away. What most people tell me when they come in is that their doctor is just unable to help them with their condition or their children’s health concern. I am extremely concerned that the government is backing Friends of Science who is behind the study they are basing their so called facts on. This group of extreme skeptics are anti-natural medicine and definately not your friend or my friend.

I teach at a Natural Medicine College in a degree course in Nutritional Medicine and the huge amount of research out there is mind boggling. As a scientist i can show you any of these, many of my blogs are backed up by a great deal of evidence. This will just push Natural Medicine Practitioners underground and affect the integrity of my profession. Witch Hunt springs to mind!

Please have your say to support my small business and many others. Natural Therapists work in our profession because we truly care about your health.

If the proposed changes are passed, this will mean:

  • The average cost of a visit to a Practitioner could increase by approximately $20
  • More pressure on the underperforming and overburdened Medicare and health care system
  • The Natural Therapies industry is represented by approximately 25,000 small to medium businesses – this policy is highly likely to have a negative effect on employment numbers in the industry throughout Australia.
  • The desire is for more under 30’s to join a Health Fund, yet Natural Therapies which align with shifting cultural norms and values, are being withdrawn.
  •  Despite a renewed focus on mental health support for Australians, this change directly affects a sector whose primary focus is on mental health assistance.
  • Insurance companies themselves are promoting preventative health measures to their clients as an opportunity reduce their premiums. They know fully the long-term economic benefits of undertaking these practices.

Why are Natural Therapies and Medicines important to Australia?
Two out of three Australians have used complementary or Natural Medicines over the past 12 months and approximately 42% of these use Complementary Medicines to prevent or manage chronic, high priority health problems. Complementary Medicines are not only effective in a range of chronic health conditions, but they can offer a genuine opportunity to reduce disease burden in a cost effective manner.3 In addition, the industry that produces Complementary and Natural Medicines generates $4.3 billion in sales per year, representing 6,000 highly skilled jobs and 73 TGA approved manufacturing plants. Natural Therapies is a growth industry delivering cost effective health outcomes and significant economic benefits for Australia.

Should these changes come into effect, there will only be a short term saving made on the Government’s part. Long term, the removal of natural and preventative therapies has the potential to have devastating effect on the healthcare sector and hospital system, due to more people being admitted to hospital with chronic diseases that could have been prevented. Thus making private health insurance continue to become less affordable, especially for young adults.

This is a backward and unsustainable step against modern healthcare best practices. Medical research points towards preventative action with natural and complimentary medicine playing its part, is the best way to prevent diseases and, more importantly, the most effective way to reduce the economic burden of the health system. A policy like this will make the Medicare and private health insurance system totally unstainable, as our population will not have the resources to partake; or be incentivised to participate in preventive health treatments that natural and complimentary health practices provide and specialise in.

If this is a concern for you, contact your representative MP and let them know how you feel by voicing your concerns and sharing the impact Natural Therapies have had on you personally.

To find out who your candidate is, visit: www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/members

Thank you and please make your voice heard!

Thank you to Metagenics, Bioconcepts and Dr Isaac Golden for information and media releases that made this article possible.

Fin Mackenzie

BSc(compmed), AdvDipNat, DNut, DRM, MATMS

Naturopath

Green Door Health

Shop 6/69 Kalang Road, Elanora Heights

NSW 2101

02 99139781

info@greendoorhealth.com.au

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