In 1965, the Social Security Act was expanded to include Medicaid. Each state administers their own Medicaid program, but the state programs are regulated by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
For low-income, older adults with medical problems, Medicaid will typically cover the entire cost of living in nursing care community. In a growing number of states, Medicaid waivers are available for assisted living care. And, in home care is usually available through the Medicaid program for those who qualify.
Because the program is administered at the state level, eligibility requirements vary widely. But eligibility is generally based on a combination of low income and low assets. In some states, it is possible to own a home and still qualify for Medicaid.
Your local area agency on aging can typically help answer your specific questions on Medicaid coverage and eligibility.