Lanhee J. Chen

David and Diane Steffy Fellow in American Public Policy Studies (ON LEAVE)

Lanhee J. Chen, Ph.D. is the David and Diane Steffy Fellow in American Public Policy Studies at the Hoover Institution and Director of Domestic Policy Studies and Lecturer in the Public Policy Program at Stanford University. Effective November 1, 2021, he is on leave from the Hoover Institution.

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

He has advised numerous major campaigns, including four presidential efforts. In 2012, he was policy director of the Romney-Ryan campaign, and served 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. Chen also advised Senator Marco Rubio's 2016 presidential bid, served as Domestic Policy Director of Romney's 2008 campaign, and was a health policy adviser to the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign in 2004. During the 2014 and 2018 campaign cycles, Chen served as a Senior Adviser on Policy to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).

In addition to his academic appointments, Chen is a Senior Counselor at the Brunswick Group, a global business advisory firm; an Operating Partner at New Road Capital Partners, where he helps to direct healthcare investments for the private equity firm’s current fund; and Chair of the Board of Directors at El Camino Health in Northern California. He is also a member of the Aspen Economic Strategy Group at the Aspen Institute.

From 2014 to 2018, Chen served 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. He also served in the George W. Bush Administration as a senior official at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

Chen’s writings have appeared in a variety of outlets, including The Wall Street JournalThe New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. He has been a CNN Political Commentator and provided political analysis and commentary on every other major television network. Chen currently serves as a member of the Editorial Board of the Salem Media Group. 

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.” 

In 2017, Chen was the William E. Simon Visiting Professor in the School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University. At Stanford, he also serves on the Faculty Steering Committee of the Haas Center for Public Service, is an affiliated faculty member of the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) at the Freeman-Spogli Institute for International Studies and was 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.

Previously, Chen practiced law at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and was the Winnie Neubauer Visiting Fellow in Health Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

Chen serves in a variety of leadership roles in nonprofits and community-based organizations. He is Chair of the Policy Advisory Board of Free the Facts, a policy education group; a Director of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (FREOPP); a member of the Advisory Board of the Partnership for the Future of Medicare; and a member of the Council of Scholars for the Better Medicare Alliance. He is also a member of 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


Lanhee Chen: Biden's Approval Has Hit Rock Bottom

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia Fox News
Thursday, October 21, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses President Biden's 39% approval rating.


Can $1 Trillion Buy Us Better Healthcare? | Lanhee Chen

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia Hold These Truths with Dan Crenshaw
Friday, October 8, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen assesses the $1 trillion component of Bernie's $3.5 trillion "human" infrastructure bill, which supposedly expands Americans access to Medicare.


Lanhee Chen: Republicans Will Be At The 'Forefront Of Climate Action'

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia MSN
Sunday, July 11, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses the Republican's role concerning climate change.

Analysis and Commentary

Biden's Medicare Plan Spells Trouble For The Whole System

by Lanhee J. Chen, Daniel Heil, Tom Churchvia The Hill
Monday, June 28, 2021

The Supreme Court has once again upheld the Affordable Care Act. Now, President Biden and congressional democrats are looking to put their own mark on the nation’s health care system. The administration recently proposed lowering Medicare’s eligibility age, and Senate Democrats are apparently eager to include the reform in their forthcoming $6 trillion reconciliation bill.


Lanhee Chen: The Policy Implications Of Medicare At 60

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia Hospitals In Focus
Friday, June 25, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses the policy and monetary implications of allowing people to sign up for Medicare at age 60.

Analysis and Commentary

This Bill Is A Win-Win For Democrats And Republicans

by Lanhee J. Chenvia CNN
Thursday, June 24, 2021

After many failed efforts, it may finally be infrastructure week in America. A bipartisan group of US Senators has agreed to a roughly $1.2 trillion package of infrastructure reforms that President Joe Biden said he will support. The package has a long way to go -- including more detailed discussions of the specific "pay-fors" or funding mechanisms for the reforms -- but the fact that the President has weighed in with his support increases the likelihood that success is on the horizon.


Lanhee Chen: Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Reached (Podcast)

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia Sound On (Bloomberg)
Thursday, June 24, 2021

(24:13) Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses the bipartisan infrastructure deal.

Analysis and Commentary

Lanhee Chen: Time To Look Forward On Healthcare

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall Review
Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The Supreme Court recently dispensed with a challenge to Obamacare’s constitutionality, and the law has now survived a myriad of legal challenges since it was enacted over eleven years ago.


The Fiscal Costs Of Medicare At 60

by Lanhee J. Chen, Tom Church, Daniel Heilvia Hoover Daily Report
Wednesday, June 23, 2021

This paper analyzes the budget effects of lowering Medicare’s eligibility age to 60. We find that if the newly eligible population is subject to the same rules as current Medicare recipients, nearly 14 million 60- to 64-year-olds would enroll in Medicare Part A, about 8 million would enroll in Part B, and 6.5 million would enroll in Part D. Gross Medicare expenditures would rise by $82.9 billion in 2022. 


Lanhee Chen On GOP's Future And Critical Race Theory

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia CBS News
Monday, June 21, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses infrastructure, health care, critical race theory, and election audits.