Lanhee J. Chen

David and Diane Steffy Research Fellow
Research Team: 

Lanhee J. Chen, PhD, is the David and Diane Steffy Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution; Director of Domestic Policy Studies and a lecturer in the Public Policy Program at Stanford University; and a lecturer in Law at Stanford Law School.  He is also a columnist with Bloomberg View.

In 2013, Chen was appointed by President Barack Obama, on the recommendation of US Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), to serve as a member of the Social Security Advisory Board—an independent, bipartisan board that advises the president, Congress, and the commissioner of Social Security on matters related to the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income programs.  He is currently awaiting confirmation by the US Senate.

Chen’s current research focuses on health policy, campaigns and elections, economic policy, and California policy and politics. A veteran of several high-profile political campaigns, he has also served in government, the private sector, and academia.

Before coming to Stanford, Chen was the policy director for the Romney-Ryan presidential campaign, as well as Governor Romney’s chief policy adviser; a senior strategist on the campaign; and the person responsible for developing the campaign’s domestic and foreign policy. He advised Romney on every major public policy challenge facing the United States and worked with a variety of stakeholders, including the congressional leadership, industry and business interests, and policy experts, to shape the campaign’s issues agenda. In 2012, he was named one of Politico’s “50 Politicos to Watch.”

Chen also served as the deputy campaign manager and policy director of Steve Poizner’s 2010 California gubernatorial campaign, the domestic policy director of Governor Romney’s first presidential bid in 2008, and a health policy adviser to the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign in 2004.

In the Bush administration Chen was a senior official at the US Department of Health and Human Services. His private-sector experience includes having been an associate attorney with the international law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, where he practiced business litigation. Chen was also the Winnie Neubauer Visiting Fellow in Health Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation and worked as a health policy advocate for a major business group in Washington, DC.

An eight-time winner of Harvard University’s Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, Chen’s scholarship has appeared or been cited in several of the nation’s top political science journals.

He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Partnership for the Future of Medicare, a bipartisan organization dedicated to ensuring the long-term security of the Medicare program. 

Chen earned his PhD and AM in political science from Harvard University, his JD cum laude from Harvard Law School, and his AB magna cum laude in government from Harvard College. He is a member of the State Bar of California.

A native of Rowland Heights, California, he currently lives in the Bay Area with his wife and children.

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Recent Commentary

Tax cuts and reforms
Featured Commentary

By Lew's Logic, All Tax Breaks Are Unpatriotic

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Bloomberg View
Monday, July 28, 2014

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is continuing the Barack Obama administration’s war on corporate “inversions” by writing in today's Washington Post that such activity is akin to economic treason. The practice of inversion, whereby U.S.-based companies merge with foreign ones and then declare that they are based abroad, is denounced as an unpatriotic way for corporations to minimize tax obligations.

Featured Commentary

Silicon Valley Learns to Think Inside the Box

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Bloomberg View
Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Late last year, the Food and Drug Administration decided to take down a rapidly growing Silicon Valley startup called 23andMe Inc., a personal genomics and biotechnology company backed in part by Google Ventures and Russian venture capitalist Yuri Milner. 

Featured Commentary

Hillary’s Unsuccessful Audition

by Lanhee J. Chenvia National Review Online
Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hillary Clinton’s gaffes during a tour to promote her new book have drawn much attention, but her biggest weaknesses have little to do with her poor choice of words. Rather, they involve what Clinton likely expected to be the core of her political strength: her record as secretary of state.

Featured Commentary

Obama's Immigration Failure

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Bloomberg View
Wednesday, July 2, 2014

President Barack Obama’s vow to use unilateral action to address some U.S. immigration challenges is disappointing because it is a nakedly political maneuver designed to benefit his fellow Democrats in this election cycle. It has significant, negative repercussions for policy, too.

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The Peregrine Podcast: “Rationalizing Immigration” with Lanhee Chen

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Peregrine
Friday, June 27, 2014

Lanhee Chen discusses how to better tailor America’s legal immigration system to the country’s economic needs and considers the political prospects for effective reform.

New IdeasFeatured Commentary

A More Rational Approach

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Peregrine
Friday, June 27, 2014

It’s hard to define the right number of green cards precisely, but with millions of individuals waiting in line in other countries to get one, it seems fair to say that the current number of approximately one million per year is too low.

Podcast: The Peregrine Podcast: “Rationalizing Immigration” with Lanhee Chen
Blue EKG
Featured Commentary

Obamacare's Prognosis Grows Dimmer

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Bloomberg View
Thursday, June 26, 2014

A nightmare for Affordable Care Act supporters has been the possibility that only the sick would be left to purchase insurance through its exchanges, driving premiums up and insurers out.

The Statue of Liberty.
Featured Commentary

Immigration Reform Didn't Die With Cantor Loss

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Bloomberg View
Thursday, June 12, 2014

Immigration reform is dead. That’s the prevailing view after House majority leader Eric Cantor’s loss in the Republican primary in Virginia on Tuesday.

Healthcare Application
Featured Commentary

Running in 2016? Don't Like Obamacare? Better Offer An Alternative.

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Politico
Sunday, June 1, 2014

The debate over the Affordable Care Act is not over. Despite President Barack Obama’s claims to the contrary, a significant majority of Americans continue to disapprove of the law. But that doesn’t mean that most people also want to go back to the health care system we had before Obamacare was passed.

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Featured Commentary

Dave Camp's Good Tax Policy Is Good Politics, Too

by Lanhee J. Chenmentioning Edward Paul Lazearvia Bloomberg View
Wednesday, May 28, 2014

In this election year, it’s no surprise that House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp’s effort to reform the federal tax code has met significant resistance both on Wall Street and in Washington.