Lanhee J. Chen

David and Diane Steffy Research Fellow
Research Team: 

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

California Adrift

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall
Friday, February 10, 2017

In a pre-Super Bowl interview, President Trump said that California “in many ways, is out of control.” California’s leaders don’t want to admit it, but he’s right on this one.

Analysis and Commentary

Tom Price: The Right Man For HHS

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall
Thursday, February 9, 2017

Later this week, the Senate will take up the nomination of Dr. Tom Price to be the next Secretary of Health and Human Services. Dr. Price is uniquely qualified for the job—he’s a physician with real-world experience who also has an excellent understanding of the health policy challenges facing our country.


How Californians Could Benefit From ACA ‘Repeal And Replace’

by Lanhee J. Chen, Micah Weinbergvia Health Affairs
Thursday, February 9, 2017

California has been an early and frequent booster of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the vast majority of the state’s politicians are committed to improving, rather than repealing, the law. But elections have consequences and so the best path forward for California is to seize the opportunities in the GOP effort to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Analysis and Commentary

How The GOP Should Approach Replacing Obamacare

by Lanhee J. Chenvia CNN
Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The recent debate over the future of Obamacare has obscured an important, but fundamental, truth: The American health care system is exceptional.

The Supreme Court
Analysis and Commentary

Lanhee Chen: Gorsuch Is A Man With Impeccable Credentials

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall
Thursday, February 2, 2017
President Donald Trump hit a home run when he nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. The President made good on perhaps his most important campaign promise. Constitutional conservatives should be proud of him for doing so.

Trump Wants Health ‘Insurance For Everybody.’ Here’s How The GOP Can Make It Happen.

by Lanhee J. Chen, Tevi Troyvia The Washington Post
Thursday, February 2, 2017

Donald Trump’s statement that his preferred replacement for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would provide health “insurance for everybody” surprised those who have followed the contentious debate over the health-care law since its passage in 2010.

Analysis and Commentary

6 Out-Of-The-Box Ideas For Trump

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Politico
Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Sell off federal land. Shave his head. Draft governors. Go to church. Here’s what Trump could do if he’s serious about shaking things up.

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.