Complementary Medicines Australia has slammed the Labor Party over its plans to cut the rebate to natural therapies if elected to Government next month.
Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen announced a raft of cuts last Friday with Labor Leader Bill Shorten reiterating the cuts to natural therapies on ABC’s Q&A this week.
“Labor’s plans are nothing more than a false economy,” says Carl Gibson, chief executive of CMA.
“It’s an accepted principle that for every $1 invested in preventive health today Australia will save $10 on chronic diseases in the future.
“Preventive health is an essential move towards improving the cost-effectiveness of the Australian healthcare system and crucial in taking pressure off over-stretched hospitals.
“Cutting the preventive healthcare rebate would not save money in the long run but would instead be detrimental to the government’s health budget.”
Gibson cites Australian Bureau of Statistics data that shows people who had visited a natural therapist were more likely to have healthier behaviours, including eating the recommended minimum serves of fruit and vegetables, exercising more and not smoking.
“Natural products and therapies contribute to the maintenance of a healthier lifestyle and better quality of life,” he says.
“The burden of disease in Australia, and the associated economic costs, is a progressively top-of-mind issue, and the relatively small $40 million a year investment to the rebate for natural therapies is a small price to pay for the long term health of Australians, out of a total spend of more than $105 billion.”