Although Medicaid is currently one of the largest programs in any state’s budget, Congress enacted this welfare health insurance scheme as almost an afterthought.
Consider the news coverage for Medicaid at the time. According to the chart below, the New York Times didn’t even mention Medicaid an any article in 1965 and Medicaid was mentioned in less than a third of the articles that Medicare was. For comparison, the coverage did not nearly approach the media coverage in the 1930s after Social Security was enacted.
Source: Laura Katz Olson (2010), The Politics of Medicaid, Columbia University Press, New York, 426 pages.