Review of the Australian Government Rebate on Private Health Insurance for Natural Therapies

Below is an email I received from ANTA (my naturopathy registration body)…
Dear Sam,Call for SubmissionsThe Australian Government Department of Health & Ageing (DHA) is calling for submissions presenting evidence of clinical efficacy, cost effectiveness and safety and quality relating to natural therapies in scope for the review.DHA have advised the list of natural therapies in scope for the review are:

  • Alexander Technique
  • Aromatherapy
  • Ayurvedic
  • Biochemistry
  • Bowen Therapy
  • Buteyko
  • Deep Tissue Massage
  • Feldenkrais
  • Herbalist
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Iridology
  • Kinesiology
  • Lymphatic Drainage
  • Massage Therapy
  • Myofascial Release
  • Myotherapy
  • Naturopathy
  • Nutrition
  • Pilates
  • Psychotherapy
  • Reflexology
  • Remedial Massage
  • Rolfing
  • Shiatsu
  • Sports Therapy Massage
  • Swedish Massage
  • Tai Chi
  • Therapeutic Massage
  • Western Herbalism
  • Yoga
  • Homeopathy

DHA will be seeking confirmation from private health insurers about the natural therapies they cover and have advised the list may be subject to change.

Any evidence provided in the submissions will be assessed by DHA in the context of the National Health & Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) Additional Levels of Evidence and Grades for Recommendations for Developers of Guidelines (NHMRC evidence guidelines).

The NHMRC will also conduct a comprehensive literature review on natural therapies, as well as assess evidence provided by stakeholders. The NHMRC will provide its finding on the evidence available the Natural Therapy Review Advisory Committee (Advisory Committee).

The Advisory Committee will be chaired by Professor Chris Baggoley Chief Medical Officer and include representatives from the natural therapy industry, private health insurers, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency registered professionals, consumers and clinical experts.

The Advisory Committee will provide advice to the Australian Government about the natural therapies that have been found by the NHMRC to have an evidence base supporting clinical efficacy, cost effectiveness and safety and quality and can continue to be subsidised by the rebate.

Changes resulting from the review are expected to be implemented on January 2014.

Submissions to the review should present evidence supporting the clinical efficacy, cost effectiveness and safety and quality relating to natural therapies in scope for the review.

Submissions should be emailed to the Private Health Insurance Branch, Medical Benefits Division of DHA at by close of business Friday 21st December 2012 with two hard copies posted to:

The Natural Therapy Review
Department of Health and Ageing
Private Health Insurance Branch
MDP 853
GPO Box 9848

Submissions received from stakeholders may be made public by the department.

ANTA is lodging a submission on behalf of members for all of the modalities that ANTA accredits. Members are encouraged to lodge submissions with DHA or alternatively to send information regarding research or clinical evidence they are aware of to ANTA on

MY response to all of that…

I get a little annoyed at continual scrutiny and really what amounts to BULLYING by the medical/pharma faculties in Australia. If  Natural Medicines didn’t work I wouldn’t have a clinic of happy individuals (many of whom were very sick when seeing their doctors).

I feel insulted that I have to provide evidence that good time management, loving what you do for a living, exercising every day and eating fabulous organic vegetables are good for you. I mean really – that’s what I encourage my patients to do? That with biochemistry, love and care. You will find the evidence in the wise government. Show people that proactive health keeps you well which is a much smarter, funner and cost effective way for any population to live by.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Is it a witch hunt? Or am I being overly sensitive?