Axed Rebates – Just Fixit

By Val Allen, PNMC Director & Naturopath – As we all know, private health fund rebates for the natural therapies including Naturopathy and Western herbal medicine was axed effective 1st April. It’s now time to apply some common sense by taking a fresh look at how this has been allowed to happen. So let’s fix it.

Axing these rebates is already starting to affect the 22,000 natural therapy small businesses throughout Australia. The Natural Therapy industry has bombarded Federal Health Minster Greg Hunt with tens of thousands of submissions demanding that the flawed decision to axe these rebates be revisited. Over 107,000 of these are demanding a Senate Inquiry.

I recently was granted a very worthwhile meeting with my local member Ben Morton (LNP Tagney) who had taken the time to research the dilemma likely to be caused by the axing of these rebates. On our behalf, he sent a letter (download pdf) to the Health Minister outlining our concerns and seeking advice on the validity of the National Health and Medical Research Council’s review and whether he would consider a reassessment of their report in the light of public response.

Dr Kerryn Phelps AM (MP Wentworth, NSW), a GP and conjoint professor at the National Institute of Complementary Medicine recently posted a very supportive article (download pdf) advising that she had asked the Health Minister to reconsider the removal of Naturopathy, Western Herbal Medicine, Pilates, Tai Chi and Yoga from the prohibited list.

It’s about time that common sense prevails in the flawed approach that resulted in natural therapy rebates being axed. So let’s fix it.

It’s not too late to make contact with your MP and express your concerns at the damaging and far-reaching effect this is having on Australian Natural Therapy small businesses; your MP needs every vote for the forthcoming May election.

Remember that likeable Professor Julius Sumner Miller’s memorable ABC TV series “Why is it so?”. That’s exactly what our industry is asking – Why is it so?

Well, this was the start of it all, incidentally, introduced by the ALP: