Lanhee J. Chen

David and Diane Steffy Research Fellow
Research Team: 

Lanhee J. Chen is the David and Diane Steffy Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution; Director of Domestic Policy Studies and Lecturer in the Public Policy Program at Stanford University; and an affiliate of Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.  He is also a CNN Political Commentator and Counsel at the law firm of Arent Fox LLP.

A veteran of several high-profile political campaigns, Chen has worked in government, the private sector, and academia. 

Most recently, Chen was an adviser to Senator Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign.  In 2012, he was the policy director for the Romney-Ryan presidential campaign, as well as Governor Mitt 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 2014, Chen was the Senior Adviser on Policy to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).  He was 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.

Chen currently serves as a presidentially-appointed and Senate-confirmed member of the Social Security Advisory Board—an independent, bipartisan panel that advises the president, Congress, and the Commissioner of Social Security on matters related to the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income programs.

Chen was honored in 2015 as one of the POLITICO 50, a list of the “thinkers, doers, and visionaries transforming American politics.”  He earned a similar honor in 2012 when he was named one of POLITICO’s “50 Politicos to Watch.”  Chen’s writings have appeared in a variety of outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and Bloomberg View.  He currently appears exclusively on CNN but has previously provided commentary on a variety of television networks, including NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, FOX News, Bloomberg Television, and FOX Business Network.  Chen is also a Contributing Commentator for Salem Media Group’s daily Townhall.Com Commentary, heard by over 2 million listeners across the country every day.

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.

At Stanford, Chen serves as a member of the Faculty Steering Committee at the Haas Center for Public Service.  He has also been Lecturer in Law at Stanford Law School.  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.

Chen frequently provides advice to companies and governmental entities on a wide range of contemporary public policy issues and is the founder and president of Launch Policy Strategies, a strategic consulting company.  He is also a member of both the International Advisory Council and the Health Advisory Board at APCO Worldwide, an international public affairs and communications firm.

Chen also serves in a variety of leadership roles in nonprofits and community-based organizations.  He is a Director of El Camino Hospital in the Silicon Valley, serves on the Board of Trustees of the Junior Statesmen Foundation and is on the Advisory Board of the Partnership for the Future of Medicare. Chen was recently elected to membership in the Committee of 100, an organization of prominent Chinese Americans.

Chen earned his Ph.D. and A.M. in political science from Harvard University, his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School, and his A.B. 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 San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and children.

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

Chen: Repeal And Deliver

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall
Thursday, December 15, 2016

Republicans in Washington are committed to repealing Obamacare right away. What they’ve been less enthusiastic about is putting the same timetable on passing policies that would replace Obamacare with market-oriented reforms.

The Supreme Court
Analysis and Commentary

Chen: Priority One

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall
Tuesday, December 13, 2016

As Donald Trump prepares to take office in a few weeks, there’s been much discussion of his top priorities during the first 100 days of his presidency.

Analysis and Commentary

Chen: A Repudiation Election

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall
Friday, November 18, 2016

Last week’s elections can be viewed as many things: The victory of the outsider over the establishment; an expression of continued economic anxiety; or a statement of frustration about “business as usual” in Washington, D.C.


The GOP’s ObamaCare Strategy Pays Off

by Tevi Troy, Lanhee J. Chenvia Wall Street Journal
Sunday, November 13, 2016

The House kept the health-care law on the policy agenda by passing more than 50 repeal bills.

Analysis and Commentary

Trump's Shocking Victory: What It Means

by Lanhee J. Chenvia CNN
Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The historic victory for Donald Trump and congressional Republicans may lead to even more history being made in 2017 -- the dismantling of many of the core parts of the Obama agenda. While the temptation will be for analysts to linger on the improbability of tonight's outcome, the reality is that a presidential transition and new Congress await.


The Drug Pricing Conundrum Explained

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Real Clear Health
Friday, November 4, 2016

Of all the health policy issues that have been discussed in recent months, few have triggered as much interest as the pricing of prescription drugs. 

Analysis and Commentary

Chen: Consequential Choices For U.S. Congress

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall
Thursday, November 3, 2016

Americans have been bombarded with news about this year’s presidential election. And with all of the scandal and all of the attention paid to the contest between Clinton and Trump, it’s easy to forget that there are other consequential choices we will make on November 8.


Obamacare's Woes Are A Winning Issue For The Republicans

by Lanhee J. Chenvia CNN
Tuesday, October 25, 2016

No one should be surprised by the news that premiums in Obamacare's marketplaces will rise, on average, by 22 percent next year for the benchmark silver plan.

Lanhee Chen: The Good Senator From Ohio

by Lanhee J. Chen
Tuesday, October 25, 2016

At a time when it’s easy to be cynical about our politics and politicians, it’s good to know that there are honorable men and women who deserve our support.

Analysis and Commentary

Who Won The Debate?

by Lanhee J. Chenvia CNN
Thursday, October 20, 2016

We, the people, were the big losers in tonight's debate. Both candidates had the opportunity to address serious problems with real solutions, but all we heard were platitudes and unrealistic plans.