Lanhee J. Chen

David and Diane Steffy Research Fellow
Research Team: 
Biography: 

Lanhee J. Chen, Ph.D. 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 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 has been a CNN Political Commentator and provided political analysis and commentary on nearly every other major television network.  Chen is also a member of the Editorial Board of the Salem Media Group. 

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

One More Opportunity For Health Care Reform

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall
Thursday, September 21, 2017

After several unsuccessful attempts this year, Republicans have one last chance to deliver on their seven-year old promise to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Legislation recently introduced by Senators Lindsey Graham, Bill Cassidy, Dean Heller and Ron Johnson eliminates some of ObamaCare’s most unpopular provisions and enacts reforms that will help to lower costs, expand choices, promote federal fiscal responsibility, and put power back in the hands of states and consumers.

Featured

Republicans Get One Last Chance On ObamaCare Reform

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Graham-Cassidy is not perfect, but it creates a competition of ideas and gives power back to states.

Analysis and Commentary

The Sanders Single-Payer Plan Is No Miracle Cure

by Lanhee J. Chen, Micah Weinbergvia The New York Times
Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Last week, Senator Bernie Sanders introduced “Medicare for all” legislation, which would enroll all Americans into the nation’s Medicare program within four years. Senator Sanders, the Vermont independent, argues that his proposal would create a system that “works not just for millionaires and billionaires, but for all of us.”

Analysis and Commentary

Why Is Health Insurance So Complicated?

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Prager U
Monday, September 4, 2017

Why is health insurance so complicated, while car insurance and life insurance are so simple? Can health insurance be more like, well, insurance?

Analysis and Commentary

A Plea For Nuance In Polarized Times

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall
Friday, August 25, 2017

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen encourages nuance in polarized times.

Featured

The Real-World Impact Of Regulatory Reform

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall
Monday, August 14, 2017

On the campaign trail last year, Donald Trump vowed repeatedly to cut and limit federal regulations that threaten to kill jobs and restrict economic growth. So far, he’s made good on that promise.

Analysis and Commentary

How Republicans Can Fix Obamacare Now

by Lanhee J. Chen, Tevi Troyvia The Washington Post
Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The failure of Senate Republicans to pass even their “skinny” repeal bill is a serious disappointment to critics of the Affordable Care Act. Despite campaign rhetoric suggesting otherwise, “repeal and replace” of the ACA is something Republicans are apparently unable and likely unwilling to do. The only silver lining for conservatives is that the failure has demonstrated what the political market will bear when it comes to changes to the law.

Analysis and Commentary

We Should Listen To Senator McCain

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall
Friday, July 28, 2017

I hope you heard about Senator John McCain’s heroic to the floor of the United States Senate to keep the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare alive.

Featured

To Fix Health Care, Look To State Governors

by Lanhee J. Chenvia CNN
Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The recent collapse of Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare can be blamed on disagreements about policy more than anything else. For seven years, Republicans at all levels of government were able to articulate the simple message that President Barack Obama's signature health care law had to go, and a set of better, market-based policies needed to replace it.

Featured

Obamacare Enshrined

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall
Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Over seven years ago, Democrats in Congress joined President Obama to create a massive expansion of Washington’s role in our health care system. And in the time since then, we’ve witnessed the many ways in which Obamacare has hurt the American health system.

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