Dr. Eric L. Larson says he has always been a bit of a contrarian.
As an undergraduate, he was publisher of the Michigan Review, an independent news journal at the University of Michigan. Later, he was one of the founders of the Kent County Taxpayers Alliance and now serves as its president. He has run for office three times on the Libertarian ticket, including his current bid for a seat on the U-M Board of Regents.
And most recently, Larson launched “The Paradocs,” a podcast that he hopes will “help physicians understand why they can’t practice medicine the way they want.”
Larson is an anesthesiologist in private practice in Grand Rapids. Growing up near Lansing, he wasn’t particularly interested in politics.
But his libertarian leanings took root during his time at the University of Michigan and at the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa, where he graduated in 2000. Larson also met his wife, Marcy, a pediatrician, during medical school.
After settling in Grand Rapids in 2004, the couple soon became Mackinac Center supporters and members of the Mackinac Center Legacy Society.
“I knew about the Mackinac Center when I was in college, but I didn’t have any money,” Larson said with a laugh. Today, he said, “We donate to only a few organizations – Mackinac, Institute for Justice and Reason. I think the Mackinac Center does great work.”
Beyond making current donations, he said, including the Mackinac Center in their estate plan is a way of demonstrating his confidence that his legacy gift will help the cause of free-market principles.
“The one thing I’ve always been inspired with is that there has been no mission drift (at the Mackinac Center). That’s what made me confident.”
In addition to direct philanthropy, Larson’s podcast is another way he supports free-market principles, and in particular, health care policy reform.
The medical system today “is not really market-based. The actual payer is the insurance company. That changes the incentives,” Larson said. He added that the insurance company comes between patients and doctors.
On “The Paradocs,” Larson and his guests have tackled such issues as health care pricing transparency, scope-of-practice regulations, board certification requirements, and government’s response to COVID-19. He also has featured innovative new health care approaches, such as child-centered urgent care centers that reduce costs and emergency room visits.
Response to the show has been very positive, Larson said, with 70,000 downloads of 93 episodes to date. Larson also recently signed onto a medical podcast network that will give his show more exposure.
Asked about the impact of COVID-19 and related restrictions on his own practice, Larson said, “It’s been bad. I think I worked five days in April. … There were times I was questioning what the goal was. I would hope we aren’t going to do that again.”
(“The Paradocs” is available at www.theparadocs.com. For more information on how you can join Mackinac Center Legacy Society, please call 989-631-0900 and ask to speak to an Advancement representative.)