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

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Lanhee Chen: How The 2020 Democratic Candidates Will Handle The Trump Economy

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia Yahoo! Finance
Monday, April 29, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses the economic policies from the Democratic challengers to President Trump in the 2020 elections.


Crucial For Trump To Have A Deal With China, Hoover's Lanhee Chen Says

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia Bloomberg
Sunday, April 28, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen talks about the trade negotiations between the world's two largest economies, and the implications for the US presidential election.


Lanhee Chen On Face The Nation

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia CBS News
Sunday, April 28, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen joins a panel to discuss the candidates for president, Joe Biden joining the race, and economic issues candidates need to address in their campaigns.

Analysis and Commentary

How Do We Get All Californians Access To Affordable Health Care? ‘Bold Action’

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Sacramento Bee
Sunday, April 28, 2019

California Influencers this week answered the question: Should California make it its mission to ensure that every resident has health care coverage? What’s the best way to achieve that goal? Below are the Influencers’ answers in their entirety.

Analysis and Commentary

Medicare-For-All Myths

by Lanhee J. Chenvia Townhall
Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Bernie Sanders and his lefty friends are at it again. He’s reintroduced legislation to create a socialist-style takeover of our health care called Medicare-for-all. Make no mistake: It would do just as much damage to our health care as would previous efforts to install a single-payer system. 


Lanhee Chen On AirTalk

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia KPCC 89.3 (Southern California)
Monday, April 15, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses the release of the Mueller report, placing undocumented immigrants in sanctuary cities, Rep. Ilhan Omar's comments, and other political events and issues.

In the News

Mar-A-Lago Spy Probe Underscores Chinese-American Racial Profiling Dilemma

quoting Lanhee J. Chenvia Forbes
Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The front-page headline of the New York Post on Wednesday blared suspicion that a China national caught at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida last week is a spy: “Revealed: Secret spy gear stash of Chinese woman who conned way into Trump club.”


Lanhee Chen: The Tricky Line Joe Biden Faces If He Enters

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia MSNBC
Monday, April 8, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen joins a panel to talk about recent allegations against Joe Biden, President Obama's remarks about 'rigidity' among liberal Democrats, and Bernie Sanders.


Lanhee Chen On 'This Week' Roundtable: Biden's Struggle, Trump Punts Healthcare To 2020, Democratic Primary Debates Big Ideas

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia Real Clear Politics
Sunday, April 7, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen joins a panel to discuss Joe Biden, health care, and the Democratic Primary debates and ideas.


Lanhee Chen: Watch Five Experts Break Down The March Jobs Report (2:05)

interview with Lanhee J. Chenvia CNBC
Friday, April 5, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Lanhee Chen discusses the health care sector adding jobs as well as non-farm payrolls expanding by 196,000 and the unemployment rate holding steady at 3.8%