Physician maldistribution is a widely recognized problem facing virtually all health care systems. In this study, information from three health care systems--the United States, the United Kingdom, and Sweden--was used to address two questions: How do organizational features of health care systems affect their ability to deal with the problem of physician maldistribution? What are the effects of physician distribution on the health status of populations? It was found, first, that all three systems perceived similar problems of physician maldistribution and drew on a repertoire of similar solutions, none of which was altogether responsive to the problem. Second, the relationship of physician distribution to health status was found to be ambiguous, with some evidence that physician/population ratios may affect some health measures but not others.