Lanhee J. Chen

David and Diane Steffy Fellow in American Public Policy Studies
Research Team: 

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.  

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 Hospital in the Silicon Valley.  He is also a Senior Adviser to and 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 affiliate of 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 two major law firms 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 a member of the National Advisory Committee of the Democracy Fund, 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

Analysis and Commentary

Can Trump Or Cruz Expose Hillary Clinton On Foreign Policy?

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Real Clear Politics
Sunday, April 10, 2016

Many analysts have posited that Hillary Clinton would have an advantage in a general election on issues relating to foreign policy and national security. 


Sending Nurses to Work with Poor Moms Helps Kids. So Why Don’t We Do More of It?

by Topher Spiro, Lanhee J. Chenvia The Washington Post
Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Only 2 to 3 percent of eligible families get the service.

Analysis and Commentary

How To Fix The Backlog Of Disability Claims

by Henry Aaron, Lanhee J. Chenvia Politico
Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The American people deserve to have a federal government that is both responsive and effective. That simply isn’t the case for more than 1 million people who are awaiting the adjudication of their applications for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration.


Instead Of ObamaCare: Giving Health-Care Power To The People

by Lanhee J. Chen, James C. Caprettavia Wall Street Journal
Friday, January 22, 2016
The next president can replace the Affordable Care Act and focus on consumer choice. Here’s how.
Analysis and Commentary

What Foes Get Wrong About Plan To Lower Health Costs

by Lanhee J. Chenvia CNN
Sunday, September 13, 2015

Presidential campaigns can be hesitant to put out policy proposals because these ideas are easily caricatured and attacked by political opponents. So, it takes some real courage to put plans in front of the electorate.


Undoing The Unilateral Presidency

by Lanhee J. Chenvia The Wall Street Journal
Monday, August 31, 2015

Obama’s executive orders can be reversed easily, but he has imposed his policies in many other hard-to-stop ways.

Analysis and Commentary

‘Crazy’ Candidates Help Start Important Policy Debates

by Lanhee J. Chenvia The New York Times
Monday, August 3, 2015

There can often be some overlap between a “crazy” candidate and one who happens to be highly effective at gaining both media attention and popularity in the polls.This should teach us, as well as the candidates in the 2016 presidential campaign, a few things.

Analysis and Commentary

GOP Candidates Must Offer Obamacare Alternative

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Real Clear Politics
Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Despite the Supreme Court’s recent decision in King v. Burwell and President Obama’s pronouncement that the debate over the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is over, health care reform will be a major topic of discussion in the 2016 presidential campaign.


Lanhee Chen Hosts The Hugh Hewitt Show (Part 2)

by Lanhee J. Chen interview with John H. Cochrane, Kori Schakevia Hugh Hewitt Show
Thursday, June 18, 2015

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen, fills in for Hugh Hewitt: This hour, talking with Carl Cameron, Fox News chief political correspondent, Dr. John H. Cochrane, The Grumpy Economist blogger, Kori Schake, Hoover Institution research fellow, and James Lileks, humorist and columnist.


Lanhee Chen Hosts The Hugh Hewitt Show (Part 1)

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Hugh Hewitt Show
Thursday, June 18, 2015

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen, fills in for Hugh Hewitt: This hour, talking with Mark Steyn, Columnist to The World, Ohio Senator Rob Portman, and Reince Priebus, RNC chairman.