Dutch national daily Trouw reports that therapy intended to cure gay and lesbian Christians who consider their sexual preference to be sinful is fully paid for by health insurance companies.
Health insurance companies are obliged to pay for the therapy because the organisation providing it, Different, is an officially recognised institution for mental healthcare.
Medical organisations argue that the therapy is inherently flawed and potentially harmful. A spokesperson for doctors' organisation KNMG says: “As a general rule, a doctor is not allowed to offer a therapy that does not work. There is no scientific evidence that a therapy intended to suppress a person’s homosexual feelings would be effective.” He added that such a therapy could even be harmful.
Psychologists working for Different say in Trouw that homosexuality is not an integral part of a person’s psychological make-up but rather an ‘orientation’ that can be treated. The organisation claims a 30-percent success rate. Homosexuality is seen as the result of psychological traumas incurred during childhood such as a lack of clear role models and child sex abuse.
Health insurance companies are greatly embarrassed by the therapy. A spokesperson for the Achmea company says it rejects the therapy but is legally obliged to pay the bills submitted by these clients.
In a reaction to the Trouw report, the senior coalition partner VVD and the opposition parties Labour, Green Left Party and democrats D66 have called on Health Minister Edith Schippers to remove the therapy from the basic health insurance package. D66 MP Pia Dijkstra said it was absurd that the government should pay for a “pointless and stigmatising anti-gay therapy.”
The health insurance sector organisation Zorgverzekeraars Nederland said it was unacceptable that a Christian therapy for homosexuality was being provided under the guise of an apparently solid diagnosis such as childhood trauma, the treatment of which is fully insured.
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