Funds attacked on 'faith healing'

PRIVATE health funds paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars for homeopathy last year, triggering calls for a clampdown to prevent taxpayers' money being spent on unproven treatments. Four of the biggest health funds confirmed yesterday that they pay members for homeopathy to some degree, with more than one-third of that money in turn coming through the federal government's private health insurance rebate. MBF was the largest supporter of homeopaths, paying members about $230,000 in 2008-09 for homeopathic treatment, or up to $28 a visit. NIB paid out $118,511 in benefits for homeopathy. Homeopathy "can only work if all of the physics and chemistry that we know today is wrong" and the fact that health funds supported it showed that "marketing and public relations trump science".