Keystone state officials are assembling a panel that will try to come up with a stategy for providing health coverage for all state residents.[@@]

Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell says the federal government has awarded the state $900,000 to set up the panel, but he says the state has to do so because the federal government seems to be unwilling to tackle the challenge of providing health coverage for all Americans.

The Pennsylvania panel will include insurers as well as small business leaders, doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, union leaders, legislators and consumer advocates, officials say.

The panel is supposed to complete its work by June 2006, and Rendell intends to come up with a health care expansion plan by the end of 2006.