A draft Government report leaked this week has added to speculation the Government is preparing to scrap public funding of a range of natural therapies offered by private health insurance companies.
The insurance industry and complementary medicine groups are adamant subsidies for natural therapies like iridology and reflexology should continue.
Deborah Cornwall reports.
DEBORAH CORNWALL: Australia's love affair with complementary medicines last year cost taxpayers more than $135 million in public subsidies for private health insurers.
That's a staggering 335 per cent increase in the past decade - a trend public health experts say is both alarming and unsustainable, because there's still no scientific evidence that any of the natural therapies even work.
The report will put pressure on Tony Abbott's government to either strip the rebate from polices that have no evidence suggesting they work, or to fund an expensive research program to resolve the efficacy and effectiveness issue for good.