Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said he had been looking at regulation of the care sector in light of the abuse of vulnerable patients uncovered at private hospital Winterbourne View near Bristol and believed it was not yet "fit for purpose".
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme:
Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: "For some time we have been concerned about the ability of providers to deliver high quality care and run on a sound financial footing."
He welcomed the push for "robust plans" to be put in place, saying:
Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb has outlined his plans to regulate care homes, saying:
Mr Lamb added:
Care homes could be regulated to prevent a repeat of the crisis that saw off Britain's biggest care homes operator, Southern Cross.
Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb will today launch a consultation into proposed measures aimed at better protecting residents if care providers fail.
Under the proposals, a regulator would keep check of the financial health of the largest care providers.
The abrupt collapse of Southern Cross caused turmoil for more than 30,000 elderly and vulnerable people last year.
The firm was crippled by a £250 million rent bill as councils sought to cut fees in the wake of the first credit crunch.