Thumbs up to Birdies for Charity and its record-setting 2017 haul of $12.3 million.

More than 500 charities will benefit from this year's benefit, sponsored by Deere and Co., and centered around its John Deere Classic PGA tournament.

It's a boon for groups that do a host of good works throughout the Quad-Cities.

Thumbs down to Iowa's foundering Medicaid system.

The now private-run health insurance program for Iowa's poor was dealt another blow this week when one of its three carriers, AmeriHealth Caritas, pulled out. The firm bolted after state officials refused to provide the metrics that justified the rates Iowa pays the companies, reported The Des Moines Register.

Since its inception, Iowa's privatization campaign has been a bad idea. Federal officials warned then-Gov. Terry Branstad. So, too, did providers. But privatization was always about ideology over facts.

Predictably, things aren't going well. And it's the poor that are bearing the brunt of the move. 

Thumbs up to Kathy Wine, who this week was named recipient of 2017's top award from Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation.

Wine, co-founder of River Action Inc., has been a champion of ecological and cultural preservation for years in the Quad-Cities.

The foundation's distinction was most certainly earned.