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

The Statue of Liberty.
Analysis and Commentary

Immigration Reform Didn't Die With Cantor Loss

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Bloomberg View
Thursday, June 12, 2014

Immigration reform is dead. That’s the prevailing view after House majority leader Eric Cantor’s loss in the Republican primary in Virginia on Tuesday.

Healthcare Application
Analysis and Commentary

Running in 2016? Don't Like Obamacare? Better Offer An Alternative.

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Politico
Sunday, June 1, 2014

The debate over the Affordable Care Act is not over. Despite President Barack Obama’s claims to the contrary, a significant majority of Americans continue to disapprove of the law. But that doesn’t mean that most people also want to go back to the health care system we had before Obamacare was passed.

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Analysis and Commentary

Dave Camp's Good Tax Policy Is Good Politics, Too

by Lanhee J. Chen mentioning Edward Paul Lazearvia Bloomberg View
Wednesday, May 28, 2014

In this election year, it’s no surprise that House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp’s effort to reform the federal tax code has met significant resistance both on Wall Street and in Washington.

Healthcare Costs
Analysis and Commentary

Best Argument Yet Against Medicaid Expansion

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Bloomberg View
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Las Vegas

Chen on Bloomberg TV: “Sheldon Adelson is a massive potential donor to your campaign”

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Bloomberg Television
Thursday, May 8, 2014

Hoover research fellow Lanhee Chen discusses Sheldon Adelson’s political money machine on Bloomberg TV. Topics include comparing Adelson with the Koch brothers, Adelson’s stance on Israel, and the goals of mainstream conservatives.

US Ballot Box Image

Special: Rivers, Whalen, and Chen on the John Batchelor Show

by Douglas Rivers, Bill Whalen, Lanhee J. Chenvia John Batchelor Show
Wednesday, May 7, 2014

In conjunction with a special live taping of the John Batchelor Show at the Hoover Spring Retreat, John Batchelor and Mary Kissel of the Wall Street Journal hosted a special elections discussion featuring Hoover senior fellow Douglas Rivers and Hoover research fellows Lanhee Chen and Bill Whalen.

Healthcare warning

Chen on Bloomberg TV: “there’s a lot of shoes left to drop on this thing”

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Bloomberg Television
Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Hoover research fellow Lanhee Chen discusses how Obamacare will impact the midterm elections. Topics include Democratic liabilities, Republican responses, and Massachusetts as a precedent for Obamacare.

Analysis and Commentary

Affirmative Action Defenders Ignore These Facts

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Bloomberg View
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Analysis and Commentary

The Other Stealthy ObamaCare Menace

by Lanhee J. Chen, James C. Caprettavia Wall Street Journal
Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Affordable Care Act's Independent Payment Advisory Board has been so heavily criticized for being an unaccountable body with the power to effectively ration Medicare services that many congressional Democrats no longer support it.

Stuck at the Station

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 21, 2014

California’s recovery, like Jerry Brown’s high-speed railroad, remains in the realm of wishful thinking.