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 lecturer in the Public Policy Program at Stanford University; lecturer in law at Stanford Law School; and an affiliate of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford.  His current research focuses on health policy, retirement security policy, campaigns and elections, and California policy and politics.   

Chen was appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the United States Senate to serve as a 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.

A veteran of several high-profile political campaigns, he has also served in government, the private sector, and academia.  Most recently, he was the senior adviser on policy to the National Republican Senatorial Committee during the 2014 election.  He frequently provides policy and political commentary on television networks including Bloomberg, CNBC, CNN, FOX News, and MSNBC.

Chen was the policy director for the Romney-Ryan 2012 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.

Chen currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Junior Statesmen Foundation and on the Advisory Board of the Partnership for the Future of Medicare.  He is a member of the Committee of 100, a membership organization of prominent Chinese Americans.  Chen is also a senior adviser and member of both the International Advisory Council and the Health Advisory Board at APCO Worldwide, a public affairs, communications, and business strategy firm.

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

Featured Commentary

A Capsizing Disability-Insurance Program

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Trust-fund reserves will run out late next year. Obama’s solution is a bad idea, but reform is still needed.

California's "Comeback"

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The state’s sluggish economy continues to worry voters.

Featured Commentary

Let States Dare to Make Health-Care Mistakes

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Bloomberg
Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The death of Vermont’s effort to install single-payer health care is revealing -- and not only for what it says about the feasibility of such government-run systems in the U.S. It also shows conservatives a way forward if the Supreme Court voids broad swaths of the Affordable Care Act in 2015.

Featured Commentary

Lessons From The 1995 Strategy

by James C. Capretta, Lanhee J. Chenvia The Weekly Standard
Monday, December 1, 2014

The Republican victory in the midterm election was decisive. Now the victors must chart a sensible course for the next two years—one that demonstrates they can be trusted as America’s governing party and sets the table for 2016.


Lanhee Chen on Hugh Hewitt

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Hugh Hewitt Show
Monday, December 1, 2014

Research Fellow Lanhee Chen discusses expectations for the new Republican Congress and answers questions from callers as a special co-host on the Hugh Hewitt Show.

Immigration Reform
Featured Commentary

GOP Can Trump Obama’s Bad Immigration Plan

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Thursday, November 20, 2014

Let’s be clear: President Barack Obama isn’t really fixing the broken U.S. immigration system.

Featured Commentary

Liberal Arrogance At The Core Of Obamacare

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Bloomberg
Friday, November 14, 2014

Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber has gotten in trouble for remarks that applaud -- in the words of Washington Post reporters Robert Costa and Jose DelReal -- “the deliberatively deceptive way” the health-care law was written to get it passed in Congress.

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Featured Commentary

Republicans Courted Asians, and It Paid Off

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Bloomberg View
Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Evidence from recent election cycles suggests Republicans have some distance to go in winning minority support in major elections. But there was at least some indication from last night’s exit polls that they may be making some headway with Asian-Americans, the fastest-growing minority group in the U.S.

Featured Commentary

Health Care Everyone Can Agree On

by Lanhee J. Chen, Topher Spirovia Bloomberg View
Monday, November 3, 2014

Republicans and Democrats have little occasion to agree on anything in these toxic times. Nowhere are their differences more acute than on health-care policy.

Affirmative-Action Foibles

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Democratic Party likes racial preferences in college admissions, but Asian-Americans don’t. Might we see a parting of the ways?