Republican senators in a healthcare working group are exploring ways to prop up Obamacare's exchanges next year, including separate legislation.
The collection of Republicans senators met Tuesday to discuss Obamacare's insurance regulations. A major theme of the meeting, though, was what to do about the individual market in 2018, which is for people who don't get insurance via work and includes Obamacare's exchanges.
"We are trying to grasp what we can do short term to stabilize these markets," said Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., as he left the closed-door meeting with about 17 Republican senators.
But Johnson and other senators said no decision has been made on what specific policies to adopt or whether to make legislation that would be separate from a larger Obamacare repeal package.
"There have been a lot of discussions but no decisions," said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.
Johnson said he is open to a separate bill to rescue markets, but he "can't really predict" if one will emerge.
"All I know is the clock is ticking on what we need to do to stabilize markets," he said. "I know we've got to act swiftly."
Several states have asked insurers to file preliminary rates for 2018, with companies in some states such as Maryland asking for increases of up to 50 percent. The rates could lower, however, after negotiations with state insurance regulators.
The 38 states that offer plans on healthcare.gov have until June to offer rate proposals.
It is not clear which policies senators are favoring to help stabilize markets. Portman said some policies were discussed, but he didn't fully elaborate.
He did say that one of the issues was insurers' "telling us that there needs to be some predictability there."
Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., added that the meeting also focused on a transition away from Obamacare after it is repealed.
"It's how do you make a transition where you still get to the repeal and replace, but add some kind of transition time to make sure it works," he said. "That's kind of complicated, too, with all these insurance companies backing out of the exchanges."
Washington Examiner Healthcare Reporter Kimberly Leonard contributed to this report.