The Senate Finance Committee is considering asking Joseph Califano, Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, to sell stock he owns in companies directly affected by his department's policies.
This would go beyond President Carter's conflict-of-interest guidelines, which permit some Cabinet members, including Califano, to retain such holdings in a blind trust after disclosing them publicly.
"I think we may ask Mr. Califano to have his trustee get rid of some of these stocks," said Sen. Russell B. Long (D-La.), chairman of the Finance Committee, which approved Califano's nomination and oversee most of HEW's major programs. "I'm going to take it up with the committee," Long said.
American Hospital Supply Corp., the nation's largest supplier of medical and surgical items to hospitals, which are girding for a major fight with HEW over soaring costs and possible nationwide price controls.
Squibb Corp., a pharmaceutical company that would be directly affected by a dispute over whether the government should buy brand-name drugs or lower-priced generic drugs for public health programs such as Medicaid.
Colonial Penn Group Inc., which tailors its insurance business to the nation's elderly, and sells policies designed to supplement what is left uncovered by HEW's Medicare program.
IBM Corp., the principal supplier of the Social Security Administration's automated data processing system.
Philip Morrie Inc., which is involved in the running battle between the tobacco industry and HEW's Surgeon General over government warnings that cigarettes are hazardous to the health and other regulations of their products.